A lot of young people these days have entitlement issues. Every time I say this, I can’t help laughing at the fact that I sound like a grumpy old woman. Apparently I have embraced this idea of getting older and have begun to criticize the “young people” around for their entitlement issues. Working with teenagers and college aged students gives me an insight to their day-to-day life, and I have – unfortunately – encountered individuals that have proved my first statement true. I like to grumble and make a big deal when students come up to me and expect me to give them what they want without having to earn it. Somehow, I feel that these encounters give me the right to somewhat of a righteous anger, while in fact, I myself am prone to my own entitlement issues.
I’ve been looking at Paul’s letters lately, and God’s Word really spoke to me on my issues of entitlement from four of Paul’s letters. I’m taking lessons from the second chapters, and I hope you’ll indulge me as I share them with you today.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking and feeling that God somehow owes me something. I look back on my journey with God, and I realized that sometimes my prayer sounds a lot like me, looking up and raising my fist to God, saying, “Lord, I’ve done all this for you. You owe me. Like big time.”
Oh I am so very relieved that God has a sense of humor and decided to ignore my antics.
But isn’t that such a human thing to feel? Somehow, we can fool ourselves to believe that the God of the universe owes us favors. And then we demand blessings. The truth of the matter is: we don’t deserve anything God has blessed us with. If He’s to be completely fair, we would all be on the express train to an eternity without God.
Those two words make up the Good News.
We were dead. We chose death and were bound to suffer the consequences of our choices. But God… made us alive. I am absolutely sure that none of us has done anything to deserve that.
How did Christ save you?
God doesn’t owe us salvation. We are not entitled to salvation. Actually, we owed God a debt, “for the wages of sin is death.” As Marvel’s Black Widow would explain it, we have red in our ledger. Whatever we try to do is useless to wipe the red. But God is gracious; he canceled the debt and wiped the red in our ledger.
How should we live our lives knowing that Christ has canceled our debts?
Since God canceled our debt and made us alive in him, it is pure logic then, that the life we now lead belongs to God. God doesn’t owe us what already belongs to him. The life we now lead is because of Christ who loved us and gave himself for us. That is above and beyond what we deserve! God doesn’t owe us blessings because we live good lives. We strive to live like Christ because he first loved the most unlovable – us!
What does living less of us and more of Christ look like for you?
I was convicted by this last lesson. As followers of Christ and people who strive to live like Christ, we are encouraged and commanded and compelled to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” in our relationships with other people. Rather than focusing on ourselves and how God should bless us, we are to humbly consider other people – our family, friends, co-worker, frienemies, acquaintances – more important than ourselves. We are to serve the people we come in contact with. One of the best ways to combat the sense of entitlement is to look outside of ourselves and focus on serving others.
How would our relationships be transformed by having the mindset of Christ?
One thing we owe God is thanks. I thank God for his grace. Even in my most stubborn, selfish, and obstinate temper tantrums, He still loves me. Even in our struggles and our demands for His favor and His blessings, He still loves us. Praise be to God!