Breaking Free from Entitlement
In our modern world we have developed a culture of entitlement. We have decided that we deserve more. We deserve better. It doesn’t really matter what the better thing is, because we don’t have it, and we want it. Even if we get it and later realize it is not better, we still want it because we have not learned to be content with what we have. Entitlement is simply a first world problem.
The problem is not the stuff itself, but the alarming rise of the entitlement mindset. This mindset has many forms from the grandiose down to the minuscule. It can be anything from “I deserve fee healthcare” to “I Deserve an iphone 5” The key is not the thing, or the object of the desire, but rather the simple statement, “I Deserve…”
You owe me nothing, I deserve Hell.
The bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Paul further tells us in Romans 6:23 that, “The wages of Sin is death, but the Gift of God is eternal life.”
The Wages of Sin is death. This is what we deserve, but Grace paid the price of the cross and bought us life. We do not deserve life. It is a gift. By the grace of God we have been given life. So, if even my life is a gift and I deserve death, what do I really deserve? When we come from a mindset that remembers that our very life is the gift of God, we begin to look at the material things as much less a necessity, and more a gift. We stop seeing the 25,000 dollar car or the 3,000 dollar guitar as a need.
When we struggle with a mindset of entitlement, we think we deserve these things. When we break free of entitlement, we begin to weigh these things. We stop looking at them as though we deserve them, but we ask ourselves do we need them or could they be better used elsewhere? Could I get a good used car for 10,000 and give the other 15,000 to support world missions, help those around me, or change someone’s life. Am I willing to go into debt to get the stuff that I want?
Our brothers and sisters in other countries face daily persecution. They are bruised and beaten, some even killed for their faith. Where is their 3,000 guitar? Where is their free health care? Where is their anything? The only reason we think we deserve anything is because the American culture tells us we do.
The American System is in Trouble
The American culture teaches us we all deserve free healthcare. The American system is in trouble. It creates people who live in government subsidized housing, need food stamps to eat, yet carry an iphone and have a flat screen.
We have confused our desires for needs, and our needs for rights. We no longer think of them as blessings from God and rejoice because he has provided for us. We suddenly think if we don’t have them, then we are being shorted or slighted.
We are so wasteful with our money. God calls us to be stewards and to use our resources (notice the shift no longer stuff, but resources) to help the kingdom of God.
When we think we deserve, we are actually operating out a spirit of Pride. Pride is focused on self above others. It is not a sin for us to have nice things, but when we feel that we deserve them, or that somehow we are entitled to them we are missing the ministry of Jesus.
As I said, it’s not a sin to have nice things, but the problem arises when we struggle with entitlement, we suddenly need the newest, and the latest. We will trade our iphone 4 for the iphone 5; our new car for our newer car. We spend more on shoes, or latte’s than most people make in a year. We are drunk with materialism and call it the blessing of God.
Stuff vs. Resources
When we are struggling with a mindset of entitlement, we see our stuff as rewards for good behavior, or worse yet, rewards for how awesome we are regardless of our behavior. When we have the heart of a servant, we see our things as resources that we can use to help us advance the kingdom.
The difference in the two mindsets is not the things we have, but how we view them and how we think about them. For instance, I have an ipod. It was a gift, and it is a blessing. When I am traveling the world it allows me to take my music with me and worship on airplanes, or in the car. When I have those headphones in my ears, I can shut myself away with God. I lived well without it, but I was blessed by God and thankful to get it. It is not the top of the line, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles, but I am content because it was a gift and it fills a need.
Our brothers and sisters all over the world are being persecuted for their faith. Many around the world struggle to even find drinkable water. Yet we in the first world are upset because that restaurant we wanted to eat at closed before we got there and we had to go somewhere else.
What is our motivation? What is our mindset? When it comes to our money and our possessions where does our heart really lay? Jesus Himself told us where our heart and mind should be.
Search My Heart
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” You see if your mindset is kingdom driven and kingdom focused, your first thought with all your money and possessions is, “how can this be used for the kingdom?” The more you pour into the kingdom the more God can pour into you.
Paul told us in 2nd Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” God loves a cheerful giver, but he also holds your giving as a sign of your heart. Where does your heart lay? When you get your check is your first thought how you can bless the church and the kingdom? Is your first thought those new shoes, or that new hat, or the new restaurant down the street?
When you treat the stuff as a reward, that’s what it becomes, but God has greater rewards for us. He wants to give us things that are far greater pleasures than just stuff. Before telling us to seek first, Jesus said in Matthew 6:19, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Jesus has greater rewards for you than you could ever imagine, but you think you deserve something lesser. The entitlement mindset is focused on today, and living large now. But the ministry of Jesus is about living for another age. The entitlement mindset is focused on self. But the ministry of Jesus is about living for others.
Can we afford to keep living in this life of entitlement? It is dragging our nation down, and infecting our churches. Instead of outreaches on the streets and an advancing kingdom, we have built monuments and citadels to keep ‘the world’ out. But how do we keep the world out of our churches if the world is inside of us? 1st John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Entitlement loves the world and has to keep up with the latest trends of the world. But we who are in Christ live neither for ourselves nor for the world. Let’s live for the kingdom that is ever increasing and ever advancing. Let’s live for Christ. For His is the Kingdom, and The Glory, forever and ever. AMEN!
I couldn’t figure out where exactly to put this in the article, but this quote has spurred me on in this discussion of entitlement. I don’t know who even said it. So It will be anonymous.
When a man says, ‘Because I have sinned I have lost it’, what he is really saying is… ‘I had it because I was good.’