Friday, July 27, 2012

The irony of the expectant

It's sadly ironic how entitled we are as people, especially as believers. Whether we would admit it or not, we believe we are entitled--entitled to a good life, to health, maybe a spouse, a home, wholeness, happiness. And the sadder side of this entitlement is that we think we can do something to get these things, or we have done something to deserve them. When truly, nothing could be further from the Gospel truth: we deserve nothing and can do nothing to garner favor or a good life, and have done nothing to deserve them should we be blessed enough to have them. Where then do we get off thinking number one that we deserve a life of goodness and number two where did we ever imagine that it had anything to do with our own efforts or stellar qualities that would qualify us for such blessedness?

I'm sure much of it has to do with our rewards-based society where everything is founded on performance: do this, get that. It's how we're programmed to process and proceed through life. But, it's an unfortunate paradigm that has carried over into our Christian-thinking. It has become subtly laced into our theology, permeating our thoughts and thus influencing our actions. It's the idea that "serve and obey God and He will bless me." As I said, it's subtle and not altogether incorrect; however, egregiously wrong when it comes to how we relate to our Father. It's very much like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son. The elder brother didn't truly love the Father, but wanted the Father's "things"--ironically just like his wayward younger brother; however, the elder brother tried to gain these blessings by doing what was right. It's a heart issue. He didn't want to please his father because he loved his father, he wanted to please his father so his father would bless him. How often do we treat the relationship with our Father the same way?

"God, I will serve you, if you bless me with ________." As I said earlier, whether or not we would admit that this is the true posture of our hearts, I'm afraid that all too often it is. I can sadly admit this for myself. All too frequently I know my wretched heart wants God's blessings more than I simply desire my Father for Himself. And if I'm honest I'm not entirely sure how to break--or rather be broken--of this gross mentality. I think it all comes down to Grace--all of it does.

Grace that reveals our need for God. Grace that causes us to realize we not only don't deserve salvation, but we deserve nothing else besides (i.e. health happiness). And Grace that ultimately frees us from ourselves and our own depravity, thus allowing for freedom (again by Grace) that we might walk humbly before our God.

Paul was right: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." In other words, we have zero grounds for these notions of entitlement. We got nothing. And the moment we do is the moment the cross ceases to have significance.

Now, for the Grace to fully comprehend and be changed by this life-altering truth.

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