Several years ago, I was working at a plumbing contractor in Renton, Washington. One of the owners was an avid airplane enthusiast. He had his own airplane stored at a nearby airport in Seattle.
His personal assistant and I had been chosen to come up with several ideas for the upcoming company Christmas party. After eliminating several choices, we decided that the best fit for the employees, was a hotel/restaurant in Anacortes, Washington; over an hours drive from the office. We did receive some brochures on the property but the our owner wanted to see first hand what he was going to “lay-out” in dollars.
Now with all of our busy schedules, a half-a-day away from the office would not work, period! Our boss’ idea…? Let’s take my AIRPLANE and save time! Neither one of us, his employees, had experienced a plane ride in a single engine aircraft. So…we both looked at each other, with some fear and in trepidation in our eyes, accepted the suggestion.
After taking off, we were both given headsets for the purpose of communicating with one another, since the engine noise was almost deafening. As I looked at the cockpits’ instrument panel, I noticed a round gauge which was somewhat familiar. It was an ALTIMETER. It clearly shows the ALTITUDE of the aircraft; whether the nose of the airplane is up or nose down. After landing at a “nobody- works- here” tiny airfield in Anacortes, the day went well. We booked the entire hotel for the company Christmas party and returned to the office that same afternoon.
“ALTITUDE ALMOST ALWAYS DETERMINES YOUR ATTITUDE IN LIFE”
I’ve been reading in my Bible this past week in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. As I came to the last chapter, I was struck by the analogy given in study, of a ALTIMETER and Christian’s attitudes. Philippians 4:4-9 really grabbed my spirit; for my own Christian attitude at time had been described my my wife as a “Debbie-downer”. Let’s read together first God’s Word and then I’ll give you the ATTITUDE image that I was given by the Holy Spirit:
“Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS …; again I say, Rejoice!  Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].  Do not fret or have ant anxiety (FEAR) about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.  And God’s PEACE [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  For the rest, brethren, WHATEVER is true, WHATEVER is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, WHATEVER is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].  PRACTICE what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of PEACE (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.”
Our Christian Attitudes is A Choice.
There are certainly Christians who exhibit a “nose up” attitude as their walk with God climbs. And there are others, who have a “nose down” attitude who dive into some most needless things in life.
The ATTITUDE that we may have as Christians also has a tremendous impact of the vitality, the success of our walk with Jesus:
See the best in people See the worst in people
Move forward Move backward
Praise others Criticize others
“PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT”
What am I saying here? If we do our part as believers, God will do His part! That sounds to simple for you? Let me help break down the facts presented in the above verses.
If you have the desire to pilot an airplane, your desire, even your passion may get you inside the cockpit; but the desire must be practiced until your confidence is in the seat too. It’s your CHOICE and until there’s PEACE in your soul you will never get off the ground. Physically or spiritually. Does that make any sense? It sure did in my particular situation.
One of the greatest challenges in the Christian walk is to remain positive for Christ Jesus in a negative and confused world. Our JOY is completely absent when our character becomes negative.
An Example that Happened Today:
This morning at 9 A.M., a godly woman in our church had generously offered to conduct a PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP for those INTERESTED in learning her secrets. My wife was really anticipating with JOY in going on this field trip; to learn to be a better photographer.
About noon, Dianne and the teacher showed up at our house to go over the pictures on the computer and look at the positives and the negative aspects of camera shots. When they entered the house, I asked them, “did you have a great time this morning girls?” They said that they had a wonderful time but wished that more ladies had showed up for the workshop. Seventeen ladies had been invited but only one student came and that student was my wife.
This now became a time for PRACTICE on my part as my positive thinking was about to quickly change into a “nose dive”. I thought, why didn’t just one person at least contact the photography teacher, their sister in Christ have the courtesy to call, send a message at least? What’s the matter with Christians today? My criticism kept building until…this verse came to me in the spirit (Philippians 4:9).
THE PERSPECTIVE OF JOY:
“REJOICE in the Lord ALWAYS [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, REJOICE!”
But I didn’t feel like REJOICING when there clearly was disappointment; not on my wife’s and teacher’s part so much, but it was all my feelings.
Here is where I began practicing this verse over and over again in my head. Praying to myself that I better get my airplanes nose up; change my altitude.
Two times the word REJOICE is given in the same verse (Philippians 4:4). I immediately discovered that the action of rejoicing was allowing my life to be filled with supernatural JOY of heaven; also allowing God to fill my life with His presence; allowing the atmosphere of heaven to flood my soul! At that moment, the nose of the airplane pointed upward and my negative emotions disappeared, really. I had made the CHOICE!
Expressing Our JOY In The “OVERFLOW”.
To REJOICE is to be given a undefinable strength with UN-defeat-able gladness. REJOICING is allowing the unsurpressible spirit of heaven spill over into every area of our lives.
I’ve share this with you in the past writings, that my favorite verse in the Bible is John 10:10, where Jesus is speaking:
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the FULL, till it overflows or ‘spills over’).”
TRUE JOY IS THE OVERFLOW:
TRUE JOY can never be contained and never confined. When reading the words of Paul to the Philippian church, they seem to ring with the outpouring of TRUE JOY; they seem to give a lift to our ‘noses’, to help us develop a positive altitude/attitude.
It is vital to remember where Paul was in writing this letter. He was in prison, where Paul was either in a Roman dungeon or serving a type of house arrest or… chained to a wall in a cell or… chained between two Roman soldiers. His predicament was obvious to all, but even through his circumstances he still maintained a “nose-up” attitude.
What is the Experience of REAL JOY?
— It IMPACTS the way that we live!
— It CHANGES US!
— It is TRANSFORMING and INSPIRING!
It has nothing to do with situations, circumstances or anything on this earth.
REAL is found in the greatness of knowing Christ; having His presence, seeking His kingdom.
It is this JOY that gives us the ability to thrive in the daily grind of life. But it is our CHOICE!
EXPERIENCING the POWER of JOY and GENTLENESS – (verses 5-6):
The church of Paul’s time was being severely persecuted by the Romans. Christians were sought out and beaten, imprisoned and executed.
Most of the things designated as “difficult” by the church today is insignificant in comparison.
The church was also being struck from the inside. there arose an intense disagreement between two women in the church which spilled over into the church life; which created a division. PEACE was needed or the “church plane” was going to nose dive into the ground. There had to be a correction, a choice made!
PEACE on the ALTIMETER:
The word PEACE means to bound, woven together or united. The only way that we can truly experience PEACE in our lives are to be bound and united with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
The reason that some of us become NEGATIVE and CRITICAL is that we lack this essential PEACE. One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed in the church today is that people try to replace God with a pastor or another person. People come to church to vent their frustration, fatigue and fears on others instead of going to God.
Far to often individuals never experience the release of their burdens because they never give them to God. They continuously share them with fellow believers dragging them “nose-down”. I have even noticed this practice in the social media at times.
There is a time and a place for sharing burdens and difficulties. We are called to bear one another’s burdens.
Here Is a Good Rule To Practice Regarding Concerns:
1. PRAY – Take your concerns to God. If something isn’t important enough for you to pray about, it isn’t important enough to complain or worry about.
2. TALK – Share your concerns. I recently read that “MOLEHILLS only become mountains if they are left over time.” Most minor problems can be solved easily if never given the opportunity to grow.
3. LET IT GO!
THE PERSPECTIVE OF BEING POSITIVE!
The TRUTH is that we will become what we think and how we think will shape our habits. Our habits shape the kind of life that we will live. Where you keep your thoughts is where your life will go–“nose-up” or “nose-down.”
It All Begins With Our “ALTIMETERS”:
When reading and meditating on Scripture, I often make notes in the margin of my Bible pages. To the point of running out of spaces to write down my thoughts. I also like to lightly line through certain words, to make them personal to me at the time.
In Philippians 4:8, after reading, I began crossing out the “Whatever s” and writing in it’s place, THE WORD. So the verse now reads, ‘THE WORD is true, THE WORD is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, THE WORD is lovely and lovable, THE WORD is kind and winsome and gracious…’ God’s WORD, His message to you and I become the “ALTIMETER”. When we read His Word daily, pray His Word daily, meditate on His Word daily, and yes, memorize His Word… Our focus is on the Altimeter; our attitudes will stay at the right altitude. I know, you have other priorities right now: work, family, relationship building, illness, etc. You are right, things do have a tendency to take control of our daily lives. But if we choose to not focus on the ALTIMETER, God’s Word, our attitudes will be affected.
IT’S YOUR CHOICE…you are already seated in the cockpit of life. POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE attitudes will effect you altitude in your relationships. Let’s start practicing today!