It's an awful feeling, you know it? You realize what you've done, and you wish so hard to change it. But, you can't shake it. You're playing chicken with yourself (and, it's not nearly as attractive as when they do it in Pearl Harbor). Which side of you will give in first?
I almost always wish for the sinful side of me to bail first. It doesn't always, though. That's the problem.
You're probably waiting for a confession of some kind (to be honest, I was kind of waiting for myself to divulge some deep secret). But, alas, this is no dirty little secret. Although it may as well be.
The feeling? The ugly one called "Entitlement."
Ok, so I'm probably the only one who has ever had to deal with this beast (or not, if anyone is feeling a skosh honest...maybe).
Entitlement comes in so many different forms. It masks itself as "thinking big," "hoping," "getting what you've earned," etc. The latter is probably the worst. It's the one that tells you that if you're a goody two shoes Christian, you will get every little desire of your sinful heart. But, it's not quite that blatant in your mind.
It goes a little something along these lines (at least for me...):
I've been reading my Bible faithfully. Thus far, I've been nice to people. In fact, someone said they were encouraged by my heart for outreach. Yeah, that feels pretty good. Me and God? We're tight. I'm right up there in the holiness batting line-up. Oh, and about my heart? Yes, I've been guarding it. So, now that I have that one under control, God can give me that super Godly guy as a friend, and hey why not a relationship, too?
This probably sounds crazy. Writing this out is weird because I know that it's how I think, and it looks completely idiotic in type. I've spent a pretty substantial amount of time trying to paint over this incorrect view. But, the ugly wallpaper underneath keeps showing through (well, that home remodeling analogy just came out of the woodwork...). The problem-the heart- hasn't ever been dealt with.
Now, I realize why I've avoided getting to the root of the issue. It hurts too much. It's humbling to see how absolutely sinful the inclinations of my heart are. Telling myself to think more about God is a whole lot easier to completely erasing a pattern of thought and replacing it with thoughts only geared toward God.
Every person probably has a different reason for feeling entitled. But, for me it boils down to the fact that I don't think God will ever give me what I want. Hold up. There are about a million things wrong with that last sentence (it's scary, really).
Let's start with Philippians 4, shall we?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Rejoicing is always a good way to start off on the right foot. Think of all the blessings God has given you. Then, the next part comes much more easily. Rejoice in God's power, and your heart will see his faithfulness. Your heart is more eager to present requests to the faithful God (and by "your" I totally mean "my"...just so we're clear). And, bam! Peace is extended.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
These verses were the verses for my semester. My mind trails like the dickens (in fact, Dickens just made me think of Oliver Twist, which went to movies, which went to New York, to my brother, to Passion, to regret, then to bad haircuts...explain that one to me...ok, enough of that). So, needless to say, it trails to things that aren't always all of the above things. You know why (of course not...or maybe you do)?
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Ok. So there's the reason! My mind trails because I am not content. I don't think God can bless me for my efforts made for his kingdom (which if I'm really thinking this way-entitlement and all-then, I never really was doing it for HIS kingdom).
And, that thought? Complete bogus. Because, later in Philippians 4, Pauls guarantees the following:
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Yup. God's word beats my sinful heart any day. I have everything I need. And, who on earth could look at my life and not see God's perpetual blessings?
No one (that's what I thought)...