"I deserve this". Have you ever thought that before? The more I observe my thoughts and motives, the more I find myself thinking like this. I've had a long day at work and I drive by Starbucks and I think, "I deserve this", and I find myself stopping in for a hot drink.
You see, many people think just like me. Our sinful flesh tells us that we are entitled to good things. Entitlement is a lie that we deserve blessings and good gifts. When our thanks and enjoyment of what God gives us turns into harsh demands we go from humble gratitude to spoiled Brat.
We are just like spoiled Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate factory (the good one, not the weird Johnny Depp one). We stomp our feet, raise our voice and yell "I want the golden egg now!" We want the gift. We want the blessing, and if we don'g get it, we make everyone else's life miserable including our own.
Entitlement is the opposite of the Gospel, yet many of us treat our relationship with God just like this. We demand. We yell. We get angry, demanding that God give us ___ . If he doesn't give it to us, we throw a temper tantrum, just like a 3-year old. Although most of us don't still bang our hands on the ground kicking and screaming, we do the spiritual equivalent. How can you tell if you have a heart of entitlement? Two quick tests:
- Do you get angry when you don't get what you want? Do you scold God by saying, "I deserved that promotion!" or, "I don't deserve this health ailment!"
- Do you reward yourself or think God ought to reward you with presents when life gets difficult? Do you angrily pray, "God, I just went on that missions trip to Mexico, why haven't I found my husband yet?" or "I deserve that new HDTV, I've had a rough season at work!"
Whenever we think like this, we must remind ourselves of the Gospel. We must remind ourselves of what we actually deserve. I don't deserve that new car. I don't deserve that great new job. I deserve hell. I don't deserve material blessing. As a rebel sinner, I deserve condemnation. Then we must remind ourselves of what we've been given in Christ! In Jesus, I have everything I will ever need. I don't need to reward myself with food, Jesus is the reward! I don't need to find comfort in shopping, in Jesus I've found everlasting comfort.
The Gospel purges all self-sufficiency and all entitlement. The wonderful promise of the Gospel is that although I deserve death, I've been given life. Even though I deserve hell, God in Jesus has lavished me with every spiritual blessing! The truth of the Gospel runs in opposition to our sinful entitlement. We must put this sinful root to death in our lives with the life altering truth of the Gospel!