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Faithful Attitudes

Series: 2021 Theme: Faithfulness

Faithful Attitudes

"It is clear to every Bible student; you cannot be faithful to the Lord if your attitude is not in keeping with the teachings of Christ (Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:17). Attitude has to do with the content of your mind, your disposition, and the control you exercise over your emotions" (Timberland Drive church of Christ Bulletin). This quote comes from an article I recently read titled Right Attitudes for Faithfulness. While the article dealt mainly with our attitude toward God and how it will determine our attitudes towards others, it got me thinking about attitudes that faithfulness to God requires. I came up with about six major attitudes that faithfulness requires, and I'd like us to spend a few moments this morning considering them.

Determination

Determination is defined as "firmness of purpose; resoluteness." The very first attitude necessary for faithfulness is the determination to be faithful. My band director in high school told us one day that the first step to getting better at something is to decide, to determine, to get better. Biblically we find individuals who determined ahead of time what their course was going to be, and they stuck to it.

  • Daniel "made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so, he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8). An interesting note here on an alternate translation of "made up his mind" is "set upon his heart." His decision was so absolute that it described as his whole being was set on this course of action.
  • Ezra "had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel" (Ezra 7:10).

Commitment

A second attitude necessary for faithfulness is that of commitment. Commitment is defined as "the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc." It is not enough to simply resolve to do better or be more faithful; you need to commit to being more faithful.

  • The Bereans were committed to the truth of God's word. They did not take Paul at face value but checked and verified everything he said by the Scriptures. "Now these were more noble-minded than those at Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Because of their commitment to God's truth, note the result in the next verse. "Therefore many of them believed along with a number of prominent Greek woman and men" (Acts 17:12).
  • The Apostle Paul was dedicated to the cause of God. At the end of his life, he said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Not only did he resolve to live for Christ, but he also dedicated his life to living out his resolve.

Humility

Humility is essential to be faithful to God. Humility is "An attitude of lowliness and obedience, grounded in recognition of one's status before God as his creatures."[1] Without humility, we cannot be pleasing to God, nor would we submit to Him. Humility is essential to faithfulness because it is the humble heart that recognizes God's greatness, our desperate need for Him, and that He alone has the answers.

  • The Wisdom writer, in his sermon, admonishes his readers to be mindful, to be humble, of their position. He says in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 to remember that "God is in heaven, and you are on earth; therefore, let your words be few."
  • Peter reminds us that it is the humble person or the gentleness of the inner person that is precious to God (1 Peter 3:3-4). Contextually Peter is instructing wives about their conduct and demeanor; there is a principle here that can be applied to all Christians. That principle is explicitly found in v.4 "but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the impossible quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."

Duty

Faithfulness carries with it responsibility or duty. When we are talking about duty or responsibility concerning faithfulness, we are talking about "An obligation, especially to give an account of one's actions. Scripture stresses that the responsibilities which believers and the church have arisen from their special and privileged relationship to God."[2]

This sense of duty comes from recognizing that we were at one time enemies of God and now that we are His beloved children. As Peter said, "for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY" (1 Peter 2:10). We might rephrase duty/responsibility as a privilege. Instead of thinking of our obligations to God as we have to, we should think of them as we get to.

Looking one verse back in 1 Peter 3:9, Peter gets to this point. He says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

To be faithful requires an attitude of duty, and I get to attitude toward God's work. Such an attitude is illustrated by the 5, and 2 talent men felt this sense of responsibility and immediately went to work when their master left (cf. Matthew 25:14-30).

Attentiveness

Faithfulness also requires attentiveness. If we are to be faithful to God, it will require paying close attention to ourselves (Hebrew 2:1), to our teaching (1 Timothy 4:16), and our actions (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Perseverance.

 

Finally, faithfulness requires an attitude of perseverance. The Christian perseveres until the end that receives the crown of life (James 1:2-4, 12 cf. Revelation 2:10). I think hymn 280 in Hymns for Worship summarizes this attitude well. The hymn is called "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus," and it is the very last line of the final stanza that I think fits here.

          "My cross I'll carry till I see Jesus,

          No turning back,

I'll follow Him."

This was the hymn that I heard after my baptism, and it is this last line that has been etched into my mind since that day. No matter what happens, I have decided to follow Jesus; I can't turn back; I'll follow Him.

 

Conclusion:

A lot goes into being faithful but, if I could urge you to take one thing with you today, it would be this last point if you have decided to follow Jesus, determined not to turn back and to follow Him the rest of your days.

 

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