In the business world where survival of the fittest is the norm, those who want to survive seem to borrow principles from the Bible and translate these into slogans that serve as their guiding light. One of these is the slogan: It is not your aptitude, but your attitude that determines your altitude. This is the very principle that the Apostle Paul laid down for the Philippian believers when he said, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8) Indeed, it was Jesus’ attitude of servant hood that exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. By what Jesus demonstrated, the Apostle Paul espoused three attitudes that every believer needs to emulate in order to excel in their service.
The first winning attitude is to serve humbly. Though he is God, Jesus stooped down to the lowest level, taking the form of a servant. He further stooped down to the most contemptible death—death on the cross. What Jesus demonstrated is in accordance with his own teachings. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45). Humility is a virtue that is commended in the Scriptures. In fact, God is always on the side of the humble and he opposes the proud. When one is humble, he does not consider himself better than others. In lowliness of heart, he acknowledges that he is able to serve only by the grace of God.
The next winning attitude is to serve obediently. Obedience is the willingness to fall under the will of God, regardless of the perceivable consequences. Jesus obediently submitted himself to the will of the Father—even death on the cross. It is not always easy to obey. Complete obedience often results in spiritual struggles. Jesus himself struggled concerning his impeding crucifixion and uttered, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39). When a believer finds it difficult to obey, it is not wrong to struggle with God and express every desire he has in his heart. However, he should be ready to end his prayers and petitions with, “Yet not as I will, but as you will”. His perceived sufferings will always cause him to want to go against the will of the Father, but this is the product of the feeble flesh. This truth was acknowledged by Jesus himself when he said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Regardless, every believer is expected to be obedient. When they serve obediently, they can expect God’s rewards. It must be noted that every reward or blessing promised in the Bible is dependent upon the obedience to the commands given.
The third winning attitude emphasized by the Apostle Paul to the Philippians is to serve sacrificially. Many choose to serve when it is convenient for them or when it entails no sacrifice at all. This is not the kind of service that the Lord demands. He set the standard of service when he said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it” (John 10:11-12). The attitude of a servant in the kingdom of God should not be as hirelings. He should not serve only because of the financial or material blessings that he will get out of it. Rather, it should be driven by love for the Lord and love for others. He must be willing to lay down his own life. The Apostle John magnified this truth when he said, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Friends, if we desire to be winners, it is necessary that we change our attitude towards service. Whether in the church, at home or in the work place, we can be winners if we subscribe to the three winning attitudes espoused by the Apostle Paul. Always remember that it is not our aptitude (knowledge) but our attitude that altitude. These three must go together if we want to receive what Jesus promised as our reward. He said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). Amen!