Warning…I’ve taken the gloves off a bit on this one – in response to things in my own heart and to things seen and heard both in Cyprus and abroad.
I deserve a raise.
I deserve to be treated fair.
I can justify greed because…
I can devalue another person because….
I’m tired, so I can slack off.
___(Enter name here)_____ wasn’t nice to me so I can take advantage of _(Enter name here)_______.
Haven’t we all said or thought these things? Aren’t they ugly?
Entitlement opens the door to every sin imaginable. If I feel that I am owed something in this life, I can justify almost any action. Entitlement is also the sentiment that causes those who use the name of Christ to lead others astray.
Jesus loves me, therefore, I can assume all of his power all of the time.
I have been faithful, therefore, I should have a big church.
I have been used to heal someone, I can do it often and it is because of my great faith. So, now I expect to do it whenever and gain some glory for myself. Jesus loves me….I’m entitled. It is God’s will, if it is mine … (my will dictates God’s will?!? Since when?)
I have been to seminary and have built a big church out of nothing. And, I hear from God more than you. Now give me your money to show me your faith. I’ve already shown you mine by my fancy shoes and big car.
Freedom is not the same as entitlement. We have been set free by the blood of Christ. The truth will set you free. We are free from the bondage of sin. We say these things a lot in the Christian world. These phrases, if not guarded against, lead to entitlement, quite often. If we only let the sentence end at the period.
The freedom that we are given – yes given – is the freedom to follow Christ, to have a relationship, to address the Father directly. We are free to interact with the Almighty. There is no barrier between us and Him. That is our freedom. We are free to submit to the reign of King Jesus. We are free to DIE TO OURSELVES DAILY. We are not free to claim all of His power for ourselves. We are not free to assume any of His glory. We are here to submit and in doing so will reflect His glory. We are promised the fruit of the spirit for our willingness to exercise our freedom to submit to Him – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – There is not any promise of power or glory there? No promise of any comfort, or self-preservation, nor any promise of perfect health there?
We are promised the reward of eternal salvation. We are also promised rewards according to our works – but not here and now. These promises pertain to Heaven and to the time after Jesus’ restoration of His physical kingdom on earth. Not now!
When we do experience His power in healings, prophecy, miracles and the like, it is simply because God wills it to be done. And, these things do happen. I am in no way saying that they don’t happen. But, they have very little to do with us. It is, however, helpful that we are open to His will, but that isn’t even required. He is sovereign. Him alone. Example: The Israelites wanted to return to Egypt and captivity when wandering in the desert. They even doubted that God would save them. Yet, He fed them and kept them safe from all sorts of misery and death. It didn’t require amazing faith to pick up manna everyday. But, it probably produced faith.
So, when we are privileged to witness or be involved with a miraculous healing or other miracles, it isn’t because of who we are. Or, when we have financial blessings, or enjoy some comfort, these are not a response to our faithfulness. It has everything to do with the will of our King Jesus – the one we submit everything to. The one we freely access and follow. The one we are free to be obedient to. The one we are free to suffer and die for. And, when the church fully accepts this and acts on it, it will be as it was intended. But, until then it will remain something that has enormous potential to glorify our King. For now, it remains bright in some spots, dead in some and barely alive in most.
Yeah, that sounded preachy. To be clear, this is a personal battle against entitlement that we must all face. In my life, there are areas that reflect the glory of the King – sometimes. But, like the church, there are many areas that haven’t been fully submitted and are barely alive to Christ. I. HATE. ENTITLEMENT. And, mostly, I hate it in myself. When I fully accept the truth in all areas, maybe then I can fully reflect the glory of the one who saved us.
This probably deserves some discussion….maybe even some correction…let me hear ya!