This idea of entitlement gnaws at me. It seems there is a big "I" in entItlement. As a whole, our nation feels entItled to the "good and easy" life. I feel entItled to a great marriage and family. Then I consider what I deserve: alienation, hostility, evil deeds (Colossians 1:21). "Yet, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach," (v. 22). Because Jesus took my sins on Himself to the cross, I am above reproach. The greek word is used two times in a row here (it screams, "pay attention" when anything is repeated) and implies not only merely acquittal from my wrong doing but the absence of even a charge or accusation against my wrong doing and sin. And then the condition in verse 23: "if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast…" This white board erasing of my sin demands I have faith in His process and plan. To think, "I'm entItled to ____" is slapping Jesus in the face, saying I don't trust you and the plan you have for me because it's not my way or plan. I used to laugh when my dad told the engineer, "There's a right way, a wrong way and Becky's way." Now I see what I need is repentance and seeking God's way.
And without faith it impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28But it seems there is more to this unsightly entItlement issue than weak faith and misplaced trust. This must be a three-headed arrow. The "I" jumps out at me: pride and building up of self. As believers, we're to be built up in Him, not self.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7It seems commonality to puff up ourselves instead of following John the Baptist's example, "He must increase, but I must decrease," (John 3:30). The opposite of pride or this puffing up is humility. The greek word tapeinophrosyne is used eight times in the New Testament and the Vine's Expository Dictionary defines it as "an inside-out virtue produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord rather than others. This brings behavior into alignment with inner revelation to keep one from being self-exalting. It means complete dependence on the Lord and no reliance on self." (I'd like to add, no reliance on others.) This is realizing what we deserve (alienation, hostility and evil) and being thankful for what we have. If we practiced this, we wouldn't act entItled but humble and thankful. Colossians 2:6-7…walk in Him, grounded in Him…abounding in thanksgiving. What if instead of thinking, I deserve a better marriage, I realized Christ's will for me in all things and thanked Him for my husband and opportunities my marriage affords me to become who Christ designed me to be? Or instead of thinking I deserve my parent's attention and access to all their assets, money and possessions, I thanked them for shaping me and blessing me, expecting nothing and giving out of what Christ gives to me? This would be realizing I am less and Christ is greater. This is depending on Christ and not on others. This is being rooted and built up in Him.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience… Colossians 3:12
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud (and entItled) but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5When have you last had your own attitude of ent-I-tlement? Take time to repent of the I, trust in the Lord (not men), have faith in His plan and way and choose to be thankful!