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It's Time for a Spiritual "Attitude Check"

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It's Time for a Spiritual "Attitude Check"

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In warfare, many times it becomes necessary for soldiers to go through an “attitude check” before a battle. At this critical moment, a soldier must assess the dangerous reality of what he or she is about to face and muster courage and confidence to enter the battle ready to fight and come out of it alive. It’s a mind-set that keeps a soldier from looking back in fear and instead keeps him or her moving forward to victory. When an army is at a turning point in the battle, it is especially important that they check their attitudes, because such a win-or-lose situation could affect their future as a nation. This task is also essential for each member of God’s Church to do. What Is an “Attitude Check”? An attitude check is a process of evaluating your principles and your determination in light of present circumstances and conditions that surround you. An attitude check can be painful if you have been letting down, not performing to the highest standards of the leader—in our case, Jesus Christ. However, it should be a positive motivator that assists us in making the necessary changes in our lives that will lead us to winning the battle we are involved in—gaining eternal life and entering into the family of God (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 [24] Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. [25] And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. [26] I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: [27] But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
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). Ever since God, through Jesus Christ, recreated the heavens and the earth, the most important battle and mission for God’s people has been internal—a battle in the mind and in the thought processes. We are surrounded in this world by a hostile environment made up of people and governments that hate God and God’s way of life—and for the most part, this hatred is unbeknownst to them. The world is filled with opportunities, gadgets, concepts, ideas, attitudes and other powerful influences that shape mankind’s mental framework. These influential forces are, for the most part, inspired by the god of this world, Satan the devil. Satan understands mankind’s proclivity to follow the undercurrent of “popular opinion” (Ephesians 2:1-3 Ephesians 2:1-3 [1] And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
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). We seek out newer and better things, are only satisfied in the short term, are easily distracted and at times act as people pleasers. If we are not careful on a daily basis, we can fall into the trap of adjusting our lives and thought patterns to be in line with the best practices and best standards of the world around us instead of always adjusting and refocusing on the high standards of our elder Brother Jesus Christ. Some may say none of us measure up to that standard, and that would be true. However, Jesus Christ came to earth and set the example for us to follow. Our job is to work hard daily, through God’s Holy Spirit in us, to follow Jesus Christ and become like Him (John 12:26 John 12:26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
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; Galatians 3:27-29 Galatians 3:27-29 [27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
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). We must not allow ourselves to fall into living by the best standards of this world, because they will lead us in the wrong direction (Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:1-2 [1] I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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). So let’s take an attitude check today and look into our reflections in the mirror of God’s Word. Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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is a passage we normally consider to be a list of things we should “meditate on,” but it is also a list of seven internal character traits we should strive to develop. In his commentary, Adam Clarke tells us that “think on these things” (King James Version) means we should “esteem them highly, recommend them heartily and practice them fervently” (emphasis added). God inspired Paul to list these traits for us to meditate upon often to see how we measure up to these standards. These standards reflect the mind of Jesus Christ and the areas of His mind that need to be developing within each of us—the members of the Body of Jesus Christ. Let’s check our own attitudes in relation to these virtues and see how we individually measure up to Jesus Christ. “Whatever Things Are True” Paul begins the verse with the Greek word for “true,” alethes, which means openness, not concealing, living a life of truth. People growing in alethes have nothing to hide. They are right with God; they have repented of past sins and are led by God’s Holy Spirit. They are open and honest in conversations with others and, when alone, maintain closeness with God and fight the downward pulls that surround them and that tug at them daily. By being genuine at all times, both inwardly and outwardly, they are not hypocrites. John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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reminds us that God must be worshipped “in spirit and truth.” A true member of Christ’s Body cannot act one way, putting on a vain show on the Sabbath day, while living entirely different when alone. One must live the truth at all times. In Ephesians 4:24 Ephesians 4:24And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
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God inspired Paul to write, “Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” “Whatever Things Are Noble” Here the Greek word is semnos, meaning to be serious-minded, venerable, respected, esteemed, admired, honorable and honest. Again, being noble or honest requires one to exhibit this attribute inwardly and outwardly, publicly and privately. To be genuinely noble requires God’s Spirit working in us, as well as a commitment on our part to follow the lead and inspiration of God’s Spirit. God calls us in our sins. We are not noble or wise at that time. But after repentance, baptism and receiving God’s Spirit, we begin to put on the nobility of Jesus Christ daily through prayer, Bible study, fellowship, meditation and fasting. We grow in becoming a new creation—a new man (2 Corinthians 5:17 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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; Ephesians 4:20-24 Ephesians 4:20-24 [20] But you have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
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). “Whatever Things Are Just” In Greek, the word translated “just” is dikaios, meaning to be equitable in character and action, to be innocent, not crafty or cunning, and to be righteous—keeping the commandments physically and spiritually. God hates the act of playing favorites. God does not look on the outward appearance or judge people by what they appear to be. God looks on the heart, the inward man (1 Peter 1:17 1 Peter 1:17And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
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). God looks at us the way we really are. He is absolutely fair with each one of us. A true member of the Body of Christ must be growing to be just, not one who “plays politics” to get recognition or position. That’s why God instructs His ministers not to “lay hands on anyone hastily” (1 Timothy 5:22 1 Timothy 5:22Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep yourself pure.
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). We must cast away our proclivity to join cliques and to give opportunities to those who look good outwardly. Hebrews 12:22-24 Hebrews 12:22-24 [22] But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, [23] To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, [24] And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.
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tells us that those who become just and overcome the downward pull of playing favorites and politics will maintain their registry in heaven as members of “the church of the firstborn.” “Whatever Things Are Pure” The Greek here is hagnos, which means to become clean, innocent, modest, chaste and pure. Because the world around us is becoming more corrupt at an astounding rate, we must be ever vigilant to maintain the purity of Jesus Christ in us. We cannot become prey to or fall into the trap of adjusting our lives to the best practices of this world. If we do, we will be falling short of the standard God set for us as members of the Body of Jesus Christ. We must not conform to this world but be transformed, changed, become totally different from the way we were when we were in the world (Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:1-2 [1] I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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). We can only do this through daily two-way communication with God—proper prayer and Bible study—which leads us to obedience and overcoming through daily repentance. Then every day, our once dirty robes become pure and white and our inward man becomes more and more like Christ (2 Corinthians 4:16 2 Corinthians 4:16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
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). “Whatever Things Are Lovely” “Lovely” is translated from the Greek word prosphiles, meaning to be friendly toward others and not perverted. When we think of loveliness, a flower, a painting or our children usually come to mind. Men describe their wives as lovely. But to God, all of His people are lovely if they are growing in friendliness and unity, overcoming bitterness and critical opinions and avoiding profanity, which is so common and prevalent in today’s media-driven world. We all must become lovely, harmonious, unified and pure-minded before God and each other. If we do, we will become increasingly more Christ-like and pleasing to God. “Whatever Things Are of Good Report” “Good report” is from the Greek word euphemos, meaning to be well spoken of, reputable, of high moral and ethical standards. We all have made some mistakes in the past, before God called us and placed us in His Church. And unfortunately, we continue to make mistakes after our calling. Some of our former or present neighbors, associates, relatives and friends may think we have “lost it” because of our beliefs and our obedience to God. Additionally, we may have marred our own reputation and caused others to hold us in lower esteem by erring in some way or by offending others. Even though we have made these mistakes, our reputation with God and Jesus Christ is what counts. If we have made mistakes, we must repent before God and ask Him to help us make things right with our fellow man, according to His will. We must ask Him for the courage and the strength to make the necessary changes in our lives and begin building our reputation back day by day through God’s Spirit in us (Proverbs 3:11-12 Proverbs 3:11-12 [11] My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: [12] For whom the LORD loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.
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). “If There Is Any Virtue” Translated from the Greek word arête, the seventh character trait, virtue, means to be excellent and praiseworthy. As we continue day by day in our fight against the pulls of this world, our own human nature and the darts of Satan the devil, we grow slowly toward becoming excellent and praiseworthy. We very likely will not see this in ourselves, but others will begin to see a difference. Above all, God will see it and be pleased by the genuine character growth and development He observes and develops us as we yield to Him. Virtue, in effect, summarizes the first six attributes and brings our character development full circle. Our attitude check could have begun with virtue and worked backward yielding the same results—each one of us seeing the need to be serious about developing holy, righteous character together—by yielding to God and by God working in us. Read and meditate on Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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often, and consider doing a spiritual attitude check today. We, as a Church, will be much better for it. UN

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