The entitlement message is eating away at our personal life, church life and our relationship with the Lord. Its message is so pervasive that we will never escape it; at best we can only manage it. “You’ve earned it.” “You deserve it.” “You have every right to have it.” These statements are at the heart of the entitlement message and our western culture.
For example, I fear our government is lulling us into greater entitlement dependency. The more our government creates an “entitlement dependency” the more we expect the government to give us what we now believe we are entitled too. This leads to greater government control by people relinquishing personal freedoms for government entitlements.
Entitlement in the Church
What’s even more alarming is entitlements infestation into the church. It comes in the form of perceived rights and things we feel we deserve. Mix entitlement with consumerism and we have demands that many Pastors and leaders cannot keep up with.
In addition, there are those who believe God is in some way entitled to them. They truly believe God should meet all their needs AND wants. Instead of being grateful for His grace they are embittered by His lack. Grace is replaced with rights. Gratefulness is replaced with cynicism.
Five Ways to Loosen Entitlements Grip On Our Lives
As Christians, how can we minimize the traffic entitlement brings? How can we stay free from it’s message?
Let me share a few ideas that are working for me.
1. Give Thanks – I really don’t know how else to say it. Giving thanks to God in all things is the antidote to entitlement. Thanksgiving is the barometer of the heart. When thanksgiving is strong, entitlement is weak. Entitlement cannot stick to a grateful heart.
1Th. 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
2. Remember Grace – Remember what God saved you from and recall often how His love, grace and mercy reached you when you could’ve cared less.
When we remember how utterly blind we were, how completely lost we were, how hopeless we were, how sin sentenced us to life forever without God and when we had zero desire to pursue Him, He died for us. When we remember these things praise fills our mouths for all the Lord has done and entitlements soon become distant thoughts.
Titus 3:3-7 “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
3. Think Eternally – Live with eternity in mind. This life is but a flicker compared to what lies ahead. Try setting your mind in heavenly places. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).” What we receive in the next life blows away anything we can imagine right now. Live through the lens of eternity.
Hebrews 11:25-26 — “[Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
4. Cutback Media – The voices of entitlement travel through media. Folks are cutting back on television, web surfing, movies and other forms of media to help them clear the clutter in their minds. It’s much easier to detach ourselves from the entitlement message when we control the ear and eye gates.
5. Pray Honestly – This should be obvious but I think I need to state it here. We all deal with entitlement at some level or another. I ask the Lord to help me remain thankful, remember grace and think eternally. I would urge you to do the same.
If we work on just two or three of these stated above I believe entitlement will substantially weaken its grip on our lives.
Bring Your Requests to God.
One more thing. Entitlement does not mean that we cannot ask things from God. The Bible clearly says to ask, seek and knock. Bring your requests to God. Believe Him for provision, healing, deliverance, even that promotion. But always remember, He never “owes it” to you. He gives because He loves.
1. Can you come up with other ways to help stay free of entitlement? Join the discussion by dropping a comment below.
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