Friday, October 05, 2007

James 2:13

James 2:13-“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

I have been going around today, trying to figure out how to put into words how I felt today. I think what is going on in my heart is something centering around the term entitlements.

Now, I know some of the students are scratching their heads right now, thinking to themselves, “What the heck are entitlements?” Instead of instructing you to look it up in a dictionary, and getting a blank stare, I’ll help you out.

Entitlement-a right to a benefit that is granted by a law or a contract.

That verse above speaks to me about entitlement-my right to have my way, my desires, and my wants, regardless of what it does to others. I feel like I am OWED something because I’m so smart, or so intelligent, or a good provider for my kids or whatever else my warped, twisted mind can come up with to justify my feeling.

In other words, God OWES me something, and when things don’t go my way, it’s obvious that He doesn’t understand our relationship. He doesn’t understand that inside I’m a good person, and I mean well. Everyone else needs help, but I’m okay. I’m as good as I need to be to pass.

In my job, we sometimes have to take tests on various subjects. The minimum score you need to pass is 80 out of 100. There is a saying there that “80=100”. That means you only have to try hard enough to get the minimum. Anything else is overkill.

How many times has our walk with God echoed that sentiment? How many times have you shorted God on quiet times, or tithing, or anything else? How many times have you looked at the Almighty and told Him, “You know what God, 80 percent is passing. That’s good enough; You should be happy with that.”

When you see it written down here, you realize how absurd it looks. But, how many of you can look back on your life recently and realize that you’re giving God the bare minimum? You’re giving Him just enough to make YOU feel good; and to put God in YOUR debt.

That’s not the way it works. God is not indebted to me for anything. That statement is so important, that I’m going to give it to you again.

GOD IS NOT INDEBTED TO ME, OR YOU, FOR ANYTHING.

We don’t hold anything over God’s head. We aren’t entitled to anything just because we did something around the spiritual house today, and want God to reward us for it. Salvation doesn’t work like that at all.

Remember, God could have left us right where we were in our lives. Jesus could have come down from that Cross, or worse yet, never even allowed Himself to be placed there in the first place. We could have to try and get into Heaven on our own merits.

Yeah, let me know how that’s working out for ya.

God had mercy on us. He could have tossed us in the ole judgment box, but Jesus had compassion on us and God showered us with His grace and mercy. It’s a shame that we forget that and want mercy for us, and justice for everyone else.

We want what we want, because we feel like we’re entitled to it. We don’t want to be told that we are learning a lesson, or being made more like Christ every day. We want our due NOW and we’ll throw a tantrum to get it.

The funny thing about it though, is that sometimes, when you throw a tantrum, the adult of the relationship has no choice but to show you the error of your ways. Sometimes, you get disciplined.

Did you notice how close the word discipline is to the word disciple? As a disciple of Jesus, sometimes I forget that I need to be disciplined. And it’s not always a bad thing to be disciplined. It just gets that way when I choose to exercise my entitlement gear and forget that I’m not owed anything.

Then, God cracks His knuckles and gears up. He loves me too much to allow me to keep this attitude. He loves you too much, as well.

So let me ask you this-do you hear the still, small voice in your quiet times disciplining you for your good, or do you hear the familiar “swoosh” of a wood switch branch in your ear ready to teach you how much you don’t want to know about entitlement?

As for me, I hope one day to get tired of not being able to sit down. Help me God, to learn to be more like You, and less like me.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

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