The Right Way To Deal With Wrong Attitudes...James 1:21...I'm sure that you have read or may have heard me over a period of time when I have said that your attitude in life determines your altitude in life. Things that happen to us in the course of life have the potential to leave us with a bitter taste in our mouth. Today, I want to draw your attention to the words "lay aside" in this scripture. These words are taken from two Greek words. The first means 'away' and the second word means 'to place or to lay something down'. When these two words are compounded together they give a picture of someone who is laying something down at the same time that he or she is pushing it away from them. So this compound word means to lay something down and to push it away far beyond reach.
Last week, we took part of our Singles' ministry to a summit in VA Beach. While we were there we ate at a seafood buffet. When you are eating a buffet meal it is easy to sinfully indulge in eating too much. So an example of this word would be to suddenly realize what you are doing and instead of diving into extra crab legs you choose instead to not go back to the buffet table and then deliberately push away from yourself that which you have left lest you should overindulge one too many times. This is the idea that James uses when he tells us to lay apart all filthiness from our lives. There are attitudes in our lives that we already know are not right, but it is up to us to lay them aside and push them away. You have to learn how to do that if you are going to succeed in life.
In New Testament times, the words 'lay apart' were frequently used to describe someone taking off their dirty clothes at the end of the day. How do you deal with your dirty clothes? Do you take them off and put them away in a clothes' hamper? The book of James uses this illustration to explain how you must deal with wrong attitudes and actions in your life. If you have the wrong attitudes you are going to do the wrong things. Just as you wouldn't go to bed in dirty clothes at night, neither should you go to bed with the wrong attitudes.
The Bible tells us to be angry, but sin not. Let not the sun go down on your wrath. What that means is that we must quickly deal with anger because anger will most definitely produce a wrong attitude. You have got to deal with these bad attitudes like you would deal with an old set of dirty clothes. It is also important to realize that dirty clothes just don't fall off and you definitely don't want to sleep in them. To get them off you have got to push buttons through buttonholes, unzip zippers, and slip the clothes off your arms and legs one piece at a time. Dirty clothes don't automatically come off just because they are dirty. They will only come off if you do something purposeful to remove them.
This is exactly what James had in mind when he tells us to lay apart all the filthiness of our lives. He is telling us to first acknowledge what is wrong and then to take appropriate measures to quickly remove any areas of weakness. If you are going to get free and stay free, it won't happen by accident. You must start taking steps to remove those negative things from your life; to lay them down and push then so far away that you will never be able to reach them again. Are you struggling with anger, jealousy, envy, or some issue that is producing negative attitudes in your life today? Does a wrong attitude keep trying to derail your life? If so, you must begin to take notice of this issue or attitude like an old set of clothes that aren't worthy for you to wear anymore. Make the decision to step out of every destructive area of your life that has held you captive. I believe that once you make that decision Holy Spirit will give you the power to carry it out.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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