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Attitudes and Actions

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ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS 

Scripture: Matthew 6:14–15, 25, 7:1-6, 12, 18:21–22; Ephesians 4:32; Hebrews 13:17

Memory verse: 1 John 4:11
"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

Lead—In

Bring a tray of fruit to class. Include some lemons cut in wedges. Serve the fruit to the class. You will probably have lemon slices lift over.

Ask the students why they chose the fruit they did. Ask also why they did not choose the lemon wedges. Many students will likely say that lemons are sour or bitter.

Tell the students that sometimes our attitudes can be like the fruit on the tray. We can be sweet and pleasant like pineapple, or we can be bitter and sour like the lemons. Explain that just as the flavour of our food is important to our enjoyment of life, so is the quality of our attitude. Ask the students if they can think of some ways our attitudes can make life more pleasant. Then ask if they can think of ways a bad attitude can make life sour.

Hearing God’s Word

Ask: “Have you ever known someone who had a bad attitude? How could you tell?” (Allow responses.)

Attitudes Determine Actions

An attitude is a way we think or feel about something or someone (Write “Attitude” on the left side of the chalkboard.) An action is how we behave or conduct ourselves. (Write “Action” on the right side of the chalkboard.)

Our attitudes affect our actions. (Make an equal sign on the chalkboard between the two words.) How we feel about someone or the kind of mood we are in will often determine how we act. If we are happy, we will treat those around us kindly.

Ask: “What happens if we are unhappy?” (Allow brief responses.)

Those around us quickly know that we are feeling unhappy but the way we act.

Jesus taught that attitudes are important. He mentioned attitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. He pointed out that an attitude of hate is as wrong as murder and can sometimes actually lead to murder. A critical attitude can sometimes lead to wrong judgements of others. (Ask students to read Matthew 7:1–6.)

We Decide our Attitudes

Ask: “How do people get good or bad attitudes?” (Allow responses.)

People are not born with attitudes. They learn them. Many of our attitudes are developed when we are children. However, the Bible teaches that each person is responsible to God for his own attitudes and actions. Do you know that you can choose your attitudes? You can choose how you want to think, feel, and act toward others.

The Bible mentions several attitudes. Christians should have. Let us look at some of them. As we do, think about your life—the attitudes you have and the actions you show.

An Attitude of Kindness

The first attitude is kindness. Kindness is an important attitude for Christians to develop. The Bible tells us about kindness. (Ask a student to read Ephesians 4:32 aloud.)

It is hard to be kind sometimes. It is much easier just to look out for ourselves and take what we want. It takes time and effort to think about others and try to find ways to help people in need. But true followers of Jesus are not selfish or rude. When Christians see a need with which they can help, they are more than willing to do what they can to help.

An Attitude of Contentment

A second attitude Christians display is contentment.

Ask: “How many have ever wished you looked like someone else or had someone else’s talent? Or perhaps you have seen something you really wanted, but it belonged to another person.” (Allow response.)

Everyone has these feelings at times. But when we allow these thoughts and feelings to grow inside us, it becomes envy, and envy is a sin. No one enjoys being around someone who is always grumbling or complaining because he is unhappy with what he has or who he is.

The opposite of envy is contentment. (Instruct the students to read Hebrews 13:5 and 1 Timothy 6:8.) One way we can develop contentment is to be thankful for the way God made us. Each person is different. There is not another you anywhere in the whole world. God has a special purpose for you. So do not waste your time wishing you were like someone else. God does not want you to be someone else. He wants you to be you. That is why He made you. Thank God for making you the person you are. Then let Him show you what His purpose is for your life.

Sometimes we may become unhappy because we want more “things.’” Jesus knew material possessions do not make a person happy. (Instruct students to read Matthew 6:25 and reread Hebrews 13:5.) Possessions cannot give us a contented attitude. There is only one way to find that. What way is it? (Ask a student to read Matthew 6:33.) If we make knowing and serving God more important than having things, God will provide all our needs and fill our lives with contentment.

An Attitude of Forgiveness

The third attitude we need is forgiveness. Part of the Lord’s Prayer deals with forgiveness. This attitude is a must for every Christian.
There are many places in the Bible where we are told to forgive others. (Instruct three students to read Matthew 6:14, 15, Ephesians 4:32, and Luke 6:37.)

Ask: “Should we only forgive someone if they apologize and ask us to forgive them?” (Encourage discussion.)

Jesus forgave those who crucified Him even though they never asked His forgiveness. When Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed for His enemies. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34.) Since Jesus lives in our hearts, we too can forgive others when they have treated us unfairly—even if they have not asked us to.

“Well, I will forgive them once, but that is all,” you may say.

Ask: {How many times are we supposed to forgive someone who wrongs us?” (Allow responses.)

Jesus was saying there is no limit to the number of times we should forgive others. No matter how many times someone hurts us or is mean to us, we should forgive them—over and over again. Think about this for a moment: How many times has Jesus forgiven you for mistakes you have made?

An Attitude of Obedience

The next attitude is one that is hard for many people to have—the attitude of obedience. It may seem sometimes that only children have to have this attitude. When a person becomes an adult, he does not have to obey anyone; he is on his own.

Ask: “But who is Someone all people are to obey? (Allow responses.)

As Christians we must obey God. One way we learn to obey God is by obeying others—parents and teachers, for example. Adults also have to obey their bosses and city, state, and federal laws.

(Ask a student to read 1 Samuel 15:22.) Samuel said these words to Saul, the king of Israel, after Saul had disobeyed God. No matter how many good things we may do to make up for being disobedient, God says disobedience is sin. Saul tried to blame others for his own disobedience. But we cannot blame others for our wrong actions or our poor attitudes. (Ask students to read Ephesians 6:1 and Hebrews 13:17.)

An Attitude of Love

The next attitude is one we talked about a couple of weeks ago. It is an attitude Jesus showed all the time when He was on earth.

Ask: “Can you guess what it is?” (Allow responses.)

All the attitudes we have discussed should be seen in our lives if we have this one. If we have love for others, we will want to be kind, content, forgiving, and obedient toward them.

Jesus was willing to die on the cross for one reason—He loved us. If we love others the way Jesus wants us to, our love will reach out to those who are hard to love. Jesus’ love for us does not depend on our being loveable. Our memory verse reminds us of why we should have a loving attitude. (Repeat this week’s memory verse with the students.)

This week’s study has presented some of the important attitudes Christians should have. But remember—Christ-like attitudes do not just happen; they must be practiced. The Bible tells us how we should treat others, and God will help us develop good attitudes if we will seek His help and grow closer to Him through daily prayer and Bible reading. That is the only way to have attitudes and actions that please Him.

Accepting God’s Word

Explain that attitudes are feelings, so accepting Jesus as Saviour makes a big difference in our attitudes because we have God’s love in our hearts. And because of God’s love for us, we should love others. Pray with any who want to accept Jesus as Saviour.

South America Challenge

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Revelation of Jesus to Unreached of South America

1. Unreached presented with good teaching on Jesus' sacrificial death,
2. The living Saviour, Jesus, seen in daily lives of believers,
3. Unreached to experience Jesus' saving, transforming power.

Prayer Promise

"For we believe that Jesus died and rose again" (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

Remember: ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS

Memory verse: 1 John 4:11
"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

1. An attitude is a way we think or feel about something or someone.
2. Jesus always had a good attitude. His attitude was shaped by love.
3. May I love others as Jesus loves me.

Pray for Revelation of Jesus to Unreached of South America.

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Study 15 | All the World/Great Teachings | africaatts.org/go-teach

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