We are utilizing the New King James version of the Bible.
This is our 13th lesson in our new series entitled “21 Qualities for Christians in the Bible.” We must remember our goal is to aid in our growth as Christians and help to develop servant leadership traits inspired by men and women of Scripture. The apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter also tells us to “add” to our faith in 2 Peter 1:5-11, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” These are just a few of the Scriptures that teach Christians to grow and mature as Children of God. These things aren’t done to make the Christian better “than” those around them but better “for” those around them. As Christians are to be as Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
You see, the Bible is not only the greatest book every written, it is the greatest leadership book ever written. Everything we could ever want to learn about leadership – vision, purpose, thinking strategy, communication, attitude, encouragement, mentoring, follow-through – it’s all there. We must be open to what God wants to teach us. We learn from the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 55:11 concerning God, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Three things we must recognize in this text, (1) God’s Word always fulfills His purpose. (2) His Word does not return to Him void; (3) It accomplishes what He pleases and prospers in what He sent it for.
So, for Our lesson today we examine: Positive Attitude: If You Believe You Can, You Can!
If you set out to climb a mountain, and you have a choice between two experienced capable guides, which of these would you choose? Guide number one is smiling and appears eager to get started on the climb. He also expresses absolute confidence that the group will reach the summit. Guide number two appears critical, uncertain, perhaps even worried. He seems hesitant to move. And he talks more about the obstacles ahead than about the summit beyond.
You’d choose guide number one, right? After all, we all prefer to follow someone who believes he can take us where we want to go, especially when the road ahead looks challenging. A positive leader communicates confidence, hope, and excitement. And all of this encourages others to keep going, even when the going gets tough.
Your attitude as a servant leader is a choice, and it affects more than your own actions; it has a significant impact on the attitudes and actions of those around you. Servant leaders with a positive attitude intentionally steer their focus, their beliefs, and their assumptions in a positive direction. They focus more on being grateful for the positive circumstances than on complaining about the negative ones. They choose to believe that outcomes will be positive in the end. And they assume the best motives in others.
A positive attitude can make the difference between winning the game and losing, between reaching the summit and turning back, and between achieving your goals and falling short. Be the confident guide, and others will want to follow you. They will imitate your example and press on with you even when the going gets tough. Attitude is contagious, cultivate the right one, and that positivity will spread, taking you and those with you as far as you can imagine going!
So, what can we do to help change our attitude from a negative to a positive? Well, we need to feed ourselves the right food. The Word of God, is THE best resource to help us! Throughout its pages are all kinds of attitudes. And in today’s study the positive one’s are easy to grab hold of. Also, we need to work to achieve a goal each and every day the Lord blesses us with. We should not be going through life without direction or a goal to strive for. The Lord discourages floundering about. He has a plan for each of us. Jeremiah 29:11 reveals to us, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In addition to having the right food and achieving goals daily, we need to write them down! We need to put them in a place where we can see them and be reminded of them! They don’t have to be huge, they need to be simple successes that will propel us to achieve the greater things over time!
Today we are going to learn Positive Attitude from the Twelve Spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan, Isaiah, and our Lord Jesus.
In the book of Numbers 13:1-2, 17-33 and Number 14:1-4, 26-33 we get to learn lessons in having a positive attitude from the twelve spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan and we will learn that a negative attitude dooms a generation, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them."… 17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, "Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, 18 "and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; 19 "whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; 20 "whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. 21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath. 22 And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs. 24 The place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the men of Israel cut down there. 25 And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. 26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 "Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan." 30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 "There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."” Numbers 14:1-4, 26-33, “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 "Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt."… 26 “And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28 "Say to them, 'As I live,' says the LORD, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 'The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30 'Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. 31 'But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 32 'But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. 33 'And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.
Twelve leaders of the tribes of Israel went in to explore, 10 brought back a negative attitude towards taking it and the negativity spread like wildfire! Joshua and Caleb brought back a positive attitude of what they saw and knew with confidence God would help them take it! Those with the negative attitude were out to get Joshua and Caleb. They stirred up the rest against their positive attitude! How very sad. For this is what we see in so many folks today. Instead of that which is good for them, more often than not people grumble and complain instead of seeing that which is good and right and beneficial. Not only for themselves for so many others around them. Josh and Caleb knew wholeheartedly that God could carry them through any challenge in the promised land! They simply had to put their complete faith and trust in God! Talk about having a positive attitude! Just think of romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?!” No one!!! Do you realize the negative or poor attitude of the ten spies cost nearly two million people their inheritance! Let us recognize the impact of our attitudes on those around us! We can help or hinder! We can encourage and build up or we can discourage and tear down! The ten spies destroyed lives!
Now let’s turn over to Isaiah 40:6-15, 21-26, and 28-31. Here is where the Prophet Isaiah Paints a Picture of hope, “The voice said, "Cry out!" And he said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." 9 O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" 10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. 11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young. 12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? 14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing….21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. 24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. 25 "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing…28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah reminds and encourages those who bring good news, not to be afraid, “Here is your God!” He reminds to look into the heavens and see all of God’s Creation, that there is nothing missing or lost! He reminds and encourages those who wait on the Lord will not faint! They will have their strength renewed! To heed these encouraging words is to be built up for greater service of God! To bring glory and honor to Him! A dear friend of mine who serves as an elder at the Wasilla church of Christ in Wasilla Alaska has Isaiah 40:31 hanging over his doorway. It can be seen as you leave the house, “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” It’s a great reminder of the attitude one is to have as you go out into the world!
From 12 spies to Isaiah, now we turn to our Lord’s teaching on Positive Attitude in Matthew 7:7-12. Here’s where He teaches us about Asking and Receiving. “"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
The Lord encourages us to simply ask, seek, and knock and it will be given, found, and opened! A Positive Attitude will motivate us to do these things! There is a catch, we need to be knocking, asking, and seeking the things of God! To do otherwise is as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Solomon concludes in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.”
A key to keeping a positive attitude is as Jesus tells us to “treat others the way we want to be treated” – The “Golden Rule” as we call it today! Do you thank God that someone shared the Gospel with You?! That should bring a positive attitude! Obeying the gospel eliminates past sins and gives you an avenue to overcome future sins should you stumble!
As we near the end of our lesson let’s recognize of the twelve spies ten brought back a negative attitude that spread like wildfire and cost 2 million people their inheritance! If we follow suit, countless lives will be lost! We need to heed the words of Isaiah who reminds and exhorts that God is with those who call upon Him and He will strengthen us, therefore do not lose heart! Remember, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, encourages a positive attitude of action! Ask, Seek, Knock!
So, with these examples of Passion and so many others, let us examine our hearts and see if we “measure up” to the level of Positive Attitude truly desired in us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The level of Positive Attitude He Himself had when He was willing to go to the cross on our behalf. His Positive Attitude aided Him in going through all that He did on our behalf. All Christians need to have a positive attitude! Our world around us struggles so, because too many true Christians are without a positive attitude! Let us maintain a positive attitude in serving our fellow man and bringing glory to our God! Let each of us NOT “be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” Galatians 6:9.
So, for this series of lessons we have studied: Character, Charisma, Commitment, Communication, Competence, Courage, Discernment, Focus, Generosity, Initiative, Listening, Passion and now Positive Attitude. The Lord has provided for us time and time again these qualities modeled in the Bible for our growth for His Will to be done!