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Developing a First-Class Attitude in 2023

At some point in my life, I was told that attitude is everything. I don’t recall where I was or who was talking, but attitude is a reflection of your mindset. When I’m in a bad mood, I tend to be sarcastic, magnifying the negative spirit within me. While it may feel good to be pessimistic from time to time, this never improved how I felt in my soul. One of the themes I heard in church on New Year’s Day was to develop a first-class attitude in 2023.

Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, [i]with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). 13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while [j]effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and [k]delight. 14 Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [[l]against God] and [m]questioning and doubting [among yourselves], Philippians 2:12-14.

In a letter to the Church at Philippi, Paul urges this congregation to adopt and emulate the attitude of Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5. Two chapters later, Paul reminds these believers that when you feel like you can’t do something, lean on the strength of Jesus, Philippians 4:13. Paul goes into specific details in 2 Corinthians 12:7-12 where he learned that the weaker you are, the strongest Jesus can become in your life. Following this advice will point you toward developing a first-class attitude.

That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, 16 Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose, Philippians 2:15-16.

The passage above highlights what a first-class Christian attitude looks like. When you place Paul’s words side by side with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be taken care of by God, Matthew 6:33-34. Despite the hardships, struggles, and tribulations that you may have to endure, you will be blessed at God’s perfect time, Ecclesiastes 3:11-12. If success is the process of arriving, may the power of the Holy Spirit transform your current attitude into a first class one by the end of 2023.

by Jay Mankus


S.A.N.S. Episode 205: Road to Calvary

Whenever you have a common name, doing an internet search takes time to find the real person. Such is the case for Jeff Moody who released two albums over a 10-year career. I discovered Jeff at a local radio based upon the title of his second album, First Priority. At this time, 1999, I wanted to follow Jesus’ advice in Matthew 6:33-34 so making the Lord my first priority became my goal in life for the 2000’s.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you, Philippians 1:6.

While I have stumbled and fallen over the past 23 years like Adam and Eve, the apostle Paul shares advice about how to stay focused. If success is the process of arriving, the journey of faith, this was made possible on Jesus’ road to Calvary, Romans 5:8. Jesus didn’t die by accident. Rather, he laid down his own life so that we could live life abundantly, John 10:10. May today’s song remind you of this spiritual process.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Be That Diotrephes

Don’t be that guy is an expression that spread into the conversations of large gatherings a decade ago. This is what you say to someone who is annoying, preforming an act of stupidity or just plain lameness. While reading a letter written by one of Jesus’ former disciples, John mentions an individual who was stubborn. Despite being a member of Jesus’ inner circle, Diotrephes ignored John’s advice and input.

I have written briefly to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to take the lead among them and put himself first, does not acknowledge my authority and refuses to accept my suggestions or to listen to me, 3 John 1:9.

A pet peeve is something that a particular person finds especially annoying. This could be any act, behavior, practice or quirk that simply gets underneath your skin. While the disciple whom Jesus loved is an old man at the time this letter was written, John is looking for a little respect. The same kind of courtesy that Colonel Nathan R. Jessup was looking for in A Few Good Men.

So when I arrive, I will call attention to what he is doing, his boiling over and casting malicious reflections upon us with insinuating language. And not satisfied with that, he refuses to receive and welcome the [missionary] brethren himself, and also interferes with and forbids those who would welcome them, and tries to expel (excommunicate) them from the church, 3 John 1:10.

Based upon the context of 3 John, Diotrephes was a control freak or as some may say today, a legend in their own mind. Whenever anyone feels like they have arrived, minds become full of narcissism. This is what likely prevented Diotrephes from being open and teachable. Remember that success is the process of arriving as learning on earth never stops. Therefore, don’t that guy or modern-day Diotrephes.

by Jay Mankus

Sorting Out the Details

Whenever you plan a weekend getaway or vacation, one member of your family has to sort out all the details. If you’re flying, what’s the best day and time to get the cheapest deal? Where are you going to stay and how close is this to the main attractions? During one trip early in my marriage, I forgot about all the Nascar fans in town for the race at the Monster Mile in Dover. My oversight made it impossible to find a hotel on our way back, ending up in a dive in the middle of nowhere.

If you know (perceive and are sure) that He [Christ] is [absolutely] righteous [conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought, and action], you may also know (be sure) that everyone who does righteously [and is therefore in like manner conformed to the divine will] is born (begotten) of Him [[r]God], 1 John 2:29.

One of Jesus’ disciples writes about sorting out all the necessary spiritual details to conform to God’s will for your life. The apostle Paul starts this process by developing the right mindset in Romans 12:1-2. While reaching out to a teenager pastor in the first century, Paul encourages this spiritual leader to daily apply his gifts and talents, 2 Timothy 1:6-7. As Christians begin to ascertain their spiritual gifts and adopt the mind of Christ, sorting out God’s will for your life begins to fall into place.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

However, sorting out all the details of conforming to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action will vary for each Christian. Some who come to a personal faith in Jesus late in life often have a clear vision of God’s calling. Young followers may have to explore for a couple of years or a decade, going through their own prodigal experience. Or if you’re like me you have to reinvent yourself at a stage in life to transition into a new job or calling. Whatever steps God takes you through, remember that success is the process of arriving until the Lord calls you home.

by Jay Mankus

Quitters Focus on the Wrong Things

1. Success is the process of arriving, not victory.

Instant gratification often causes the casual athlete, fan or participant to give up before seeing the fruits of their labor.  Christian apologist Clive Staples Lewis defines success as the process of arriving in his book Mere Christianity.  Unfortunately, a spirit of perfection leads many to fail to comprehend this mindset.  Thus, every year individuals stop pursuing their dreams, end a career prematurely or quit their jobs due to a lack of satisfaction.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established, Proverbs 16:3.

2. Failure is a blue print for knowing what does not work.

In 1994, my fiance gave me her blessing to pursue professional golf in 1995.  I spent the first three months playing on the Tommy Armour Tour, a mini-tour based in Florida.  The day before my first tournament, I completely changed my swing.  After three humbling tournaments, I made my way up north to Ohio before participating in Qualifying School on Vancouver Island for the Canadian P.G.A. tour.  After being even par after 4 holes, I fell apart missing the 36 hole cut.  Looking back, if I would have waited one year before turning professional, I would have had a better chance.  Yet, for now, I know what not to do.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, Psalm 73:26.

3. Humility strips away pride, prompting hearts to trust in God, not self.

One of the hardest things to determine in life is knowing when to say when.  For me, it didn’t take long for me to realize I didn’t belong on the P.G.A. tour.  Facing failure tends to strip away arrogance, especially when you come to the reality “I can’t do this.”  However, today I struggle with determining if I have done everything possible in power to ensure success.  In the past, when I’ve allowed frustration to dictate my decision making, I quit before the timing was right.  Therefore, before you make a rash decision in the future, make sure you trust in the Lord’s understanding instead of yourself.

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight, Proverbs 3:6.

by Jay Mankus

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