Attitude is Everything

8:52 AMHeather

There's a little cartoon I've seen posted on Facebook that really resonates with me.  In the first square, dated sometime a few decades back, we see parents, a child, and a teacher.  The parents are pointing to a bad grade, and ask the child where he went wrong.  The second square is dated 2011, and in the same scenario, the parents are pointing to the teacher and asking her where SHE went wrong.  

Funny.  Except that it's all too true.  I keep hearing a verse from Timothy that warns about how people will eventually digress to a state of being lovers of self.  It's as though the Lord peeled back the earthly calendar and gave Paul a glimpse into the year 2012.  Is this not so true in our culture?  In our homes?  In our hearts?  Lovers of self.  It's all about me.  Entitlement.  Demanding my rights.  Or just plain demanding.  

One of the most recurring themes I am finding in my study this year of God's grace, focused first on the root word favor, is a particular use of the term "favor."  Over and over and over again, I have seen it used in a particular way regarding relationships with others.  And, it is one of those simple mind blowing, life changing concepts--if we can only grasp on to it and begin to make it a habit.  In the far reaches of my brain, I think I've blogged about it already this year.  Yet, I feel so compelled today to share the idea again.

In 1 Samuel 20, we see David on the run, pursued by a jealous and blood thirsty Saul.  Saul, of course, is the father of David's BFF, Jonathan.  And throughout the chapter, we see David use the term, "If I have found favor."  He wraps up his requests--which are surely pleas for his very life--in this humble framework of the phrase, "if I have found favor."  When Saul wants to close in to inflict harm on David, David says in verse 29, "if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers."  It's all a rather polite fight, if you ask me.  But, it has much to say not only about David's attitude and heart condition, but also about the cultural norm that I keep seeing in the Old Testament.

People in that day and age did not seem to approach relationships with others as we do.  They did not demand their rights, but rather they approached others with a humility, as one seeking a courtesy and requesting consideration.  As I keep bumping into this same concept, I am wondering "what if?"  What if we started using this phrase?  What if we adopted this standard to relationships?  What if we took up our cross--our agenda--daily, and followed Christ's ultimate example to humble ourselves to others?

What if when we have been wronged, we go to the other person and say, "if I have found favor in your eyes, then please allow us to find a resolution."  What if when someone cuts you off in line at the store, you say, "If I have found favor in your eyes, then allow me to keep my place?"  What if we modeled this humility for our children?  What if they began to practice what we lived out for them?  Can you imagine the what if's?   

It's not easy.  Here's the key to the whole humbling ourselves to others.  It means submitting ourselves to God.  It means entrusting our agendas and our needs and our rights to His Sovereignty.  It's not REALLY about being at the mercy of others.  Truly, the heart of this type of attitude is asking the Lord to have His way.  It's being obedient to a Biblical example.  And leaving the rest to God.  It's not about being manipulative in order to get our way.  It's about saying GOD'S WAY is our only option.  It's making His way more important than what we might choose.

Glimpse of grace:  Favor.  Submitting ourselves to others humbly to ask for their favor.  Do you want to know where it got David?  He evaded Saul's attacks, alright.  And, guess where he settled to live in peace?  In the land of the Philistines.  Yes.  Those Philistines.  The people group of Goliath.  Interesting full circle if you ask me.  In 1 Samuel 27, David settles among the Philistines in order to escape Saul (quite a clever safe house), and he ask the king of the Philistines, "if I have found favor in your eyes, then please give me some land."  This tells me that David was wise.  He was humble.  He was trusting God to protect him as he boldly submitted himself to the king of a rather famous earlier conquest.  David was deliberate, not hasty.  He was methodical and strategic.  And here's the thing.  David trusted the favor of his KING--not the favor of this king.  Ultimately, it's not really that David was putting it all in the hands of the king of that land.  No, it's that he chose to submit himself to the hands of the Lord God Almighty.   And, that, my bloggy friends, is our call.  That is our challenge--in this day and age.  To trust the Lord to defend our rights.  To trust the Lord to show up and fix things for us.  To trust the Lord to look out for us and our interests--no matter what.  If we can make that leap of faith, then we really can be radical in our approach to others.  Then, we can go to others no matter what, and make our requests known with the preface "if I have found favor in your eyes."  It may not go as you'd intended.  But, in our obedience to humility, we can trust it will always go as God intended.  Many are the plans in a man's heart.  But, it's the Lord purpose that prevails!  So be it.  Let His purpose prevail.  Let's get ourselves out of the way for all that He wants to do.  If I have found favor in your eyes...please prayerfully consider this challenge.  And hold me accountable to it!

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