In our kids' program, JOY Club, we sing a simple chorus that has been pricking my heart.
Work on your attitudes, the way you know you should
Put away those selfish thoughts and think of only good
Check all those motives, make sure they pass the test
Then the Lord will help you to do your very best
You’ve got to work on your attitudes in all you do and say
Look for opportunities, to practice them each day
People around you are watching all you do
So work on your attitudes; faith, joy and gratitude
Yes work on your attitudes today!
When I go to church, sing in the choir, give my offering, pray out loud, teach a class, etc., am I doing it with the right attitude? Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, saying, "But all their works they do for to be seen of men..." (Matthew 23:5)
Yes, those are all good things. We are told to worship together, to encourage each other, to pray together, to sing together, to teach others, but are we doing it to look good or because we love the Lord and our church family?
It comes back to the issue of pride and lack of humility.
Neither should I think of myself as higher or more important than other Believers. Jesus warned of men giving themselves more authority than they should. "... all ye are brethren" and " he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." (Matt. 23:6,8) The Holy Spirit is in all Believers. He can work through anyone, no matter their age or level of education or experience. I can learn truths about God from a child that loves the Lord, just as much as from a person with a doctorate in theology. I should always have a humble and teachable attitude.
So, why should I do good things?
I know that I don't gain Brownie Points with God by doing my good deed for the day. What is the purpose of doing good things? To bring glory to God.
My life should be conducted with a high level of standards, not because I live under the fear of the law, but because I love God and want to be like Him. "We should be as strict as the Bible teaches, but not stricter - adding more rules to what God has already said." (R. Bonin) The Holy Spirit is the One that will convict and teach me how to live. I should not place my convictions as rules upon others, teaching them that this is the way to please God.
When I "love God with all our hearts, and soul, and mind, and strength," then I will naturally do those things that please Him. I will show kindness and love to others. I will have patience and self-control and good attitudes in my daily life. It's not a matter of trying to be good, but letting the Spirit live through me.
"Man Made Religion"
(Matthew 22:41-46, 23:1-12)