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Do You Have an Attitude Problem?

Johnny Depp has certainly had his problems. Marital problems. Financial problems. Problems with depression. Problems with his reputation. Problems with his fans.

If you followed the trial of Johnny and his former wife Amber Heard, you may know what I'm talking about.

The following quote comes from one of his most iconic roles ever--Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.  Can you believe that the first movie in this franchise was released in 2003!

The Problem Is Not the Main Problem

Jack Sparrow is not the first philosopher to say that. You can find this same idea in  Jesus and his lead disciple, Paul.

So, what is the main problem?

The problem is out attitude about our problems. What does that mean?

It means the problem is what you think about your problem, how you feel about your problem, and what you do about your problem.

In the Gospel of Mark, (9:14-29) a man has brought his son to the disciples. The son is possessed by an evil spirit. That's a problem. The disciples can't deal with this problem. Now Jesus enters the scene.  The man explains his son has been like this since he was a little boy and than says to Jesus... "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
 
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Not only is there a problem but the man has a deeper problem. He is not sure Jesus can help with the problem.  Jesus immediately points out this REAL problem. It is an attitude of BELIEF and FAITH problem. The man immediately responds with an amazing answer.

I do believe, but I also know it is hard to believe. But I believe you can help me overcome my unbelief-attitude problem.

Attitude Problems About our Problems are Everywhere!

We see attitude problems in: weak faith, low confidence, fearfulness, anxiety, anger, depression and more.

These are internal responses to the problems around us. These internal responses immobilize us and prevent us from dealing with problems. We become passive about our problems which only makes them worse, which then strengthens our attitude problem ever more. It becomes a vicious circle.

The Apostle Paul knew all about problems. But Paul did not compound his problems with attitude problems. Paul challenged his problems with the right attidude... and he taught us to do the same.

Four Best Practices to Deal With Attitude Problems.

In Philippians 4:4-9 Paul gives four best practices that will help you with your problem about your problem. This is not a theoretical exercise for Paul. Because Paul has a real problem. He is in prison as he writes this great advice. Paul is putting into practice the very things he teaches us to do (see 4:10-28).

ONE:  REJOICE in the Lord in the midst of your problem. In other words, first get your eyes off your problem and on to God who is the Sovereign Solver of Problems.  (4:4)

TWO:  Now, in the spirit (and attitude) of rejoicing, PRAY. You are focused on the Sovereign Solver of Problems, now pray about your problem, and invite God into the problem and your attitude. Notice, as you do, the power of God goes to work - first on your attitude. You being to experience peace about your problem.  (4:6-7)

THREE:  REFOCUS your thinking. Part of the attitude problem is "stinking thinking" or excessive thinking about what is wrong. That kind of thinking spirals downward. So stop it by starting to think about other things. Paul doesn't tell you exactly what to think about. He does give eight descriptions about the nature of the things you are to think about. Things that are: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Start thinking about those things and your attitude problem is changing fast!  (4:8)

FOUR: Finally, put your new attitude into ACTION. Look to the example of Paul and others  see what they do, and do the same thing (Philippians 3:17).  The promise is the God of peace is with you.

Even if your problem remains (and often it will) your attitude about your problem has completely changed. And remember - that is the real problem. (4:9)

So - what is a problem you are facing?

What is your current attitude about the problem?
Is that attitude making your problem better or worse?
If the wrong attitude is making it worse, follow those four steps and discover what God can do about your problem about your problem.

And let's all hear Jesus asking - "Do you understand?"

Grace and PEACE to you,
Pastor Brian Rice
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