Proper Attitudes

Kent Bailey

The aspect of the local church necessitates that Christians who comprise local churches learn how to properly work together. Such necessitates a development of proper attitudes. Paul, the apostle, discusses the development of proper attitudes in Romans 12:4-12. Some of the components described and discussed in this particular passage deal with the regulation of miraculous gifts limited to the first century. Others deal with the permanent aspects of New Testament Christianity. All of the principles, however, imply the import of the development of proper attitudes.

We must allow the scriptures to control our thinking where we will develop proper attitudes toward God, ourselves as individuals, fellow Christians–especially those who are members within the local church where we labor, the work itself in which we engage. We must also learn to develop a proper attitude toward unfaithful brethren–in order that we may seek to restore them to Christ as well as to development of a proper attitude toward non-Christians, enabling us to present to them the gospel of Christ.

Attitudes toward God.
We must develop a proper love for God. Christ defined this type of love in Matthew 22:37. Do we as Christians love God with all of our hearts, souls and minds? We must develop a strong faith and trust in God (Hebrews 11:1). Without faith it is impossible to be pleasing unto Him (Hebrews 11:6). Do we have the type of faith that pleases God (Romans 10:17)? We must also develop an attitude of thankfulness toward God (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17). God’s righteous indignation is against all those who are unthankful (Romans 1:18-21). Sacrifice is a crucial attitude that we all need to develop in a proper attitude toward God (Romans 12:1-2). Sacrifice demands giving God the very best of our time, our abilities, and our financial resources. If we fail in this we will become conformed to a world of sinfulness.

Attitudes toward ourselves as individuals.
There are several areas of life that influence our own thought and actions. To be faithful to the Lord we must develop a proper humility (Romans 12:3,16). Humility will entail that one develop a willingness to engage in menial tasks (John 13:6-17). Those who are unwilling to do small things cannot be trusted to accomplish great things. As Christians we need to be careful to develop a teachable disposition. In living as Christians we need to see the value of Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15). Such implies growth in knowledge. Just because we have never considered a concept from the Bible previously does not mean that it cannot be true. Growth in knowledge of the scriptures is not limited to those things we have always heard in past years. A proper attitude toward ourselves is also indicative of being honest regarding our mistakes and falling into even unintentional sin (James 5:16). In order to be acceptable to Christ we must have a willingness to correct them.

Attitudes toward fellow Christians.
A proper attitude necessitates a development of love (John 13:34-35; 1 Peter 1:22-23), cooperation (1 Corinthians 12:23), appreciation for the worth of others (1 Corinthians 1:14), submission (Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 13:17), peacefulness (Matthew 5:9). hospitality (Romans 12:13), warmth, friendliness, and openness (Acts 11:27-30), gentleness and meekness (2 Timothy 2:24-26), forgiveness, forbearance, and longsuffering (Ephesians 4:2, 32).

Attitudes toward our work.
If we lack a proper attitude to what we hope to accomplish for Christ, our work will go undone. We must have gratitude for the privilege of work (1 Corinthians 15:9,10). Such necessitates enthusiasm and eagerness (2 Corinthians 9:7). We learn to do the very best that we can do and improve upon our labors (Colossians 3:23). Faithfulness in our work necessitates that we learn to become self-starters, that we approach our tasks with a positive attitude and persist until completion (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Philippians 2:14; Hebrews 6:12).

Attitudes toward unfaithful brethren.
Those who have been baptized into Christ, however, have fallen into an impenitent practice of sin are in a lost condition (Acts 8:22-23; 1 John 1:6). Brotherhood in Christ does not automatically bring endorsement and fellowship. One must walk in the light of God’s truth as a Christian to insure an abiding fellowship with God (1 John 1:7). When one fails to abide in the truth they do not have Christ or God (2 John 9-11). Christians do not accomplish the Lord’s work by having a broader concept of spiritual fellowship than what the New Testament authorizes. When fellowship is withdrawn from fallen Christians because we genuinely love them and are seeking to restore them to a proper relationship to Christ, then the work of the local church will bring honor and glory to God (Romans 16:17-18; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13-15; James 5:19-20).

Attitudes toward those who are non-Christians.
Individually as Christians and collectively as local New Testament churches we must develop a concern for lost souls (Jude 21-25). After delivering one of the most scathing sermons against sin in the harshest of human language, our Lord expressed his love and compassion for those who had rejected him (Matthew 23:37-38). The sufferings of Christ on the cross was endured not only to purchase the church, but also to enable sinners to respond in obedience to the gospel (Hebrews 2:9-12). When we emulate the love and compassion of Christ, we will recognize the importance of the preaching of the gospel and defense of the faith (Mark 16:15-16; Philippians 1:16-17; Jude 3). Our preaching, teaching, debating, and personal work endeavors must be geared to winning the lost to Christ.

May we through the development of proper attitudes bring honor and glory to Christ by building up the local church.

Source: Northside Anchor Bulletin for Sunday, May 14, 2017. Editor: Ron Hall. Northside Church of Christ, Calhoun, GA.
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