Later this Spring I will be publishing my first book entitled “Cultivating a Gospel-Shaped Attitude.”Based on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-11), this book offers insight into the relationship between our attitude and character. Jerry Falwell Jr., the Chancellor and President of Liberty University says:
“There is no shortage of books in this world based on the general premise that, if we adjust or eliminate our bad attitudes, our quality of life will improve. In “Cultivating a Gospel-Shaped Attitude”, Dr. Buchanan moves beyond feel-good rhetoric to focus instead on the source of a healthy attitude – in a heart aligned with the desires and teachings of Christ.”
What I propose in the book is that to develop a Christ-like character we must begin by cultivating what I have termed a “gospel-shaped attitude.” Over the next several weeks I am going to share several excerpts from the book. Below is a section from the introductory chapter explaining the basic premise of the book. I hope that you enjoy it and would love to get your comments and thoughts in the comments section. If you are interested in receiving updates and additional information about the book, please sign up to follow my blog by email. Just clock on the box to the right labeled – Follow Blog Via Email.
Attitudes, Actions, and Character
” Several years ago, I had the privilege of working with a man a named David, who served as my associate pastor when I was pastoring a church in Richmond, Virginia. David is one of those people who everyone enjoys being around. He’s the kind of person who always has an encouraging and uplifting word to say, and every time I gave him a task to complete, he took it on without grumbling or complaining. It seemed that no matter what the situation was around him, David always had a pleasant attitude. Anyone who worked with or encountered David would agree that it was a joy to be around and serve with him. Do you know that kind of person? If you do, then you already know the importance of having a positive attitude. But my goal in this book is to go a step further, to go beyond merely having a good attitude.
What I want to show you is how to develop an attitude shaped by the gospel, which, when cultivated over time, will result in a Christlike character. What makes my friend David such a blessing to be around is that he exhibits the character of Jesus in so many ways. But he did not develop this kind of character overnight. Developing a Christlike character is the result of consistently allowing the gospel to shape the way you look at the world and conducts your life. In David’s life, years of cultivating a gospel-shaped attitude have resulted in people recognizing the character of Christ in his life. In this book, I want to show you how to develop an attitude shaped by the gospel so that, over time, other people will come to recognize the character of Christ in your life.
Simply put, our character is the sum of our attitudes and actions over time. In algebraic terms we could say, Attitude + Actions + Time = Character. The key to developing a Christlike character, therefore, is to cultivate a gospel-shaped attitude. Attempting to exhibit a Christlike character without first adjusting our attitudes would be like trying climb Mt. Everest without learning to tie ropes, use snow shoes, or climb smaller mountains. Sadly, most of our efforts in discipleship have focused on producing Christlike character without dealing with the more fundamental issue of our attitudes. There are no shortcuts in the process; there are no quick paths that will get us to Christlikeness. Character is the product of displaying the right attitudes and making the right decisions over a period of time. With this in mind, I would like to submit that our formula for developing a Christlike character should look like this:”
|A Gospel-Shaped||+ Christ-Honoring||= Christlike|
|Cultivated over time||Exhibited over time|
“Our pathway for developing a gospel-shaped attitude is found in Matthew 5:1–11, or as this passage is more commonly called, the Beatitudes. These eight attitudes form the opening section of Jesus’ most famous sermon: the Sermon on the Mount. In the subsequent chapters, we will break down the individual beatitudes to discover how each of them is grounded in the character of Christ and the gospel, but for now I want to call your attention to the way in which these attitudes, when cultivated over time, will lead us to a Christlike character.”
From “Cultivating A Gospel Shaped Attitude: Understanding and Living the Beatitudes” (Nashville: Crossbooks, 2013) Copyright 2013 Joseph Buchanan