Who wins a football game? How many times have you seen a top rated team get beaten by a low ranked team that was supposed to be an easy win. The game was not important to the high ranked team but it meant something for the lesser team to win.
There is an odds maker in England who says he can predict the outcome of a soccer match by listening to the pregame speeches by the players and coaches. He says that the team with the most positive words in their speeches will likely win the game. These are the guys with a winning attitude.
What is a winning attitude and how do we get it?
What does winning the game of life mean to you?
As followers of Jesus – especially if we really believe that the spirit of God lives in us - we can expect and deserve to have a successful life.
Matthew 7: 7-11
7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
We are God’s children and he will give us what is best for our lives. So ask in faith and God will give what you ask for.
So what is the right attitude for a successful or winning life.
Our success depends on the way we treat others.
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
One thing that has surprised me in my study of the worlds wealthiest men has been that despite what the media may say about them, they all feel that the secret to their success is their ability to serve people. To treat people the way they want to be treated.
Sam Walton built the walmat empire on the simple premise that he wanted to give his customers good value and treat them well. He also built his company on the foundation that all employees are to be treated equally and fairly. I am not sure how well the current company is executing his original vision but it is the foundation that took Sam Walton form a simple shop clerk to billionaire executive.
Even the notorious Al Capone said at his trail that he did not understand what all the fuss was about because he was just trying to give people what they wanted.
In order to be successful in life or in business, you have to have an attitude of service.
Let’s look at what Paul said to the Philippians;
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 and being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Lets look closer at verse 6 for a moment. Note that Jesus did not try to be equal to God, he just was. And note in verse 5 that Paul says we are supposed to have that same attitude. We must have the same attitude about success that God has. Do you think God worries about the future? Do you think he worries if he will run out of money before his business picks up?
As children of God we can adopt the attitude of total faith in God and then it is much easier to take on the role of a servant.
I read this week that one of the biggest factors in the failure of new businesses is what the writer called Business ego. The business focused more on what was good for the business than they did on servicing their customers. Successful businesses provide value to their customers and they are paid in exchange for that value. People are happy to pay when they feel that the value they are getting is greater than the cost of the item purchased.
For example, we may complain about the high cost of gasoline, but most of us – maybe not Darrell – would rather pay that cost than walk or ride the bus. The value we get from that $2 of fuel is greater than what we could have spent say a bag of chips.
Our whole world wide economy is based on exchanging things of value for something that is of greater perceived value. For example, say an Eskimo trader has a boat load of furs. Say you offered him an original Picasso painting worth one million dollars or you offered him a something that would enable him to collect more furs, like maybe a gun or even a new trapping method or simply a lease on some land where game could be found. Which of these would be of more value to the trapper? Does it matter what the item cost you? Does it change the value to the trapper?
To be successful we make exchanges where we get a higher perceived value.
Now lets get back to that wining attitude. You have heard me say many times that what you think about expands. This is truly the case when playing the game of life to win.
Lets look at what Paul thought we should be thinking about.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Lets also look at what Paul said we should not think about:
8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Now let’s try an experiment. For the next few minutes, I don’t want you to think about lemons. Don’t think about how yellow and round they are. Don’t think about how one would smell if you took a knife and cut it open. Don’t think about pouting a drop of fresh lemon juice on your tongue. How many of you made a sour face? How many of you are salivating? The more I told you not to think about the image the stronger it became in your mind.
And your mind is powerful enough to provoke the same reaction in your body as if you had really cut open a lemon and placed in on your tongue.
Remember the little children's song: “So be careful little minds what you think. "
Our minds are fantastic super computers that can process vast quantities of data and make instant decisions. And like computers, they operate on programs. Unlike computers, we can change the program ourselves. Lets look at some ways to reprogram our minds to align with God’s intentions for our lives.
17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing. "
What doers this verse say about what God wants for us? Does it sound like he wants us to life a life of shalt nots? It sounds to me like God wants us to live the best life we possibly can and rejoice in it.
You can transform your attitude.
Romans 12 :1-2
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Paul says that we are transformed in the renewing of our minds. In other words we can change our thoughts and therefore transform our lives.
We are no longer to conform to the worldly pattern of cause and effect but we can consciously create the successful lives that we want and deserve through the transforming of our minds.
God’s will for our lives in perfect and pleasing. If we have faith in God and believe these scriptures, then we can have the assurance that despite appearances to the contrary, every thing is going to be OK. God wants us to live successful lives.
And the method that we do this with is by controlling our thoughts. Lets look at 2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. We often teach this to our children to get them to behave in socially acceptable ways. But it really speaks to us as we are building our successful lives. If we are want to be successful, and I don’t think anyone sets out to be a failure, then we must take control of our thoughts.
Now you may say that you can’t control your thoughts. Wallace Waddles says that it is the hardest work in the world. But I say that you can control your thoughts.
God has given us an incredible system to help control our thoughts. I call it out emotional guidance system. If you are thinking a thought that feels bad, like frustration or fear or anger or envy or any feeling of lack then you are not thinking the best thought available to you. If you are thinking thoughts of abundance and love and peace and joy, then these thoughts feel good and you are thinking more in harmony with the thoughts of Jesus who is in perfect harmony with God.
Lets look at one more verse to see what type of thoughts we need to be thinking to live a successful life.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
When we are thankful for what we have we are in harmony with God. Being thankful allows more blessing to come into our lives. In fact it attracts more of what you are thankful for.
There are three steps to creating a successful event in your life. First you image it and create it in your mind. This is the same as asking God for this event to come in to your life. Every thought you form is a prayer to God.
Next God sets heaven and earth in to action to create what you have thought about. All the resources are set in place and poised ready to create your thought.
The next step is for you to allow God to create the event in your life. You can stop the flow of God’s good will by thinking of something different, like doubting that you deserve the thing or you can resist God’s good will by nit acting consistent with your thoughts. For example if you sway that you desire to have good health, yet you continue to take actions that you believe to be unhealthy.
In business, you will never feel successful if you feel that you are cheating your customers. No matter how much money you make, you will never feel like you are providing value and therefore you will not feel successful.
If you are an employee, you can feel successful by providing more service than the value that you get paid for. In this way your employer can continue to make more profit and keep you employed.
There are two cycles in life. There is a destructive cycle and a creative cycle. If we think thoughts of fear, loss, violence, poverty or sickness, we are promoting the cycle of destruction.
If we think thoughts of hope, abundance, peace, success, and health we are promoting the cycle of creation.
By focusing our thoughts and faith on Jesus Christ and taking on a Christ like concern for all people we will create a strong foundation on which to build a successful life. And if we keep thinking thoughts of faith and abundance, then will can continue to move in the creative cycle and build a successful life for ourselves and all those who you come in contact with.
This article was originally presented by Mike Strawbridge in the Adult 4 Sunday school class at North Cleveland Baptist Church
Mike is the owner of Straw Solutions Performance Improvement Consulting. He is available for business consulting as well as personal coaching. If you want to succeed in business or life with God's assistance, Mike will be happy to assist you.