Monday, October 27, 2014

day 26: avoiding the entitlement trap

i have been wanting to write about entitlement in this series. i think it it the elephant in the room when it comes to giving thanks (or not giving thanks).   everyone knows it is there, everyone struggles with it even if they don't want to admit it, and everyone thinks it is someone else's problem.

listen, i know that our culture has made a lot of money by selling us the line that we deserve to be happy, comfortable, and entertained. the thing is, the moment we start toying with the idea that we deserve anything at all, we lose the ability to be truly thankful.

i cannot look longingly at what i do not have, convincing myself of all the reasons why i really should have it, cling to the lie that have been somehow wronged if i don't end up having it, and see the blessings that are in my life. all i can see is the blinding light of what i "deserve."  whether it is out loud with my lips or deep inside in my heart, i will start grumbling and complaining about how i was somehow wronged because of my lack in the area of my life that i believe should be different. usually the one we ultimately believe has wronged us is God Himself.

it doesn't have to be about material possessions either. entitlement and self pity are like bffs. they take turns making us more miserable, more anxious, and more ungrateful. we can easily fall prey to this danger because it is one of the most widely preached messages in the american culture, even sometimes in the church. "you deserve _______." it is shouted everywhere we turn.

entitlement is the lock and chain that keeps our eyes blind and our hearts entangled in strife and envy, but giving thanks is the key to living in freedom and joy.

we do not have a right to be happy.

life being fair is nowhere in the bible.

we do not deserve anything.

we really do need the grace of the Holy Spirit to give us a heart of thanks to replace the heart of entitlement that every single one of us struggle with on some level.

in the words of a misty edwards' song:
You owed me nothing
i deserved hell
You owed me nothing
but You've given me mercy...
we need a sobering of our own estimation of ourselves to realize that these lyrics are the reality of our lives - without the mercy and kindness of God, we were on a road leading to hell itself. but in His abundant lovingkindness, He rescued us from a life headed towards destruction; and if it were for only this one single act, we could spend every moment of the rest of our days giving thanks. He is so generous with us if we could only have eyes to see His kiss of goodness in
every. single. event. in. our. lives.

- even the really tough ones that seem to be from the enemy of our souls.

the Lord is holding us in the palm of His hand and nothing can take us away from Him. in these times we still can give thanks over and over again for He is faithful to us all the time. if we fall into the trap of entitlement, we will always be discontent, demanding from our very Creator a different life than He has given us.

see, the best cure for entitlement is to give thanks. when we are filling our thoughts, hearts, and mouths with all that God has done for us, for how much He has given to us that we did nothing to deserve... we stop thinking about what we think we deserve that we lack. His gifts are always for our good. He is a good Father. we have so much to give thanks for, if we would only look at all He has done and given day after day after day.

we do not have to fall into this trap. giving thanks can set our hearts free.


want to read more of my 31 days of thanks? just click on the box below - it is that simple.

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