You may have fallen for this principle once or are still within the confines of it. And it’s just wearing you down mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You might not even know it.
Some pastors/priests, seeing our enthusiastic response to it when they insert it into their Sunday message, make it a regular staple of their teachings. Some even make it the very center of their ministry. And we can’t blame them. People like to be entitled to a blessing they believe is only exclusive for them.
So what do we need to stop thinking?
We need to stop our Entitled Child of God way of thinking.
Most of us still believe that since we are children of God through Christ, it’s impossible for us to fail. Since we serve the living God, we will always have victory. We were saved to be the head and not the tail, the lender and not the borrower. God further promises that if we are faithful with our tithes, He will reciprocate. If we give to the poor, the Lord will provide double. If we proclaim His gospel, He will make sure that we have a comfortable life. And all these promises we can all unlock because Jesus has made that possible through the cross. Jesus did promise that He will do anything we ask in His name, right?
While this is all true, we Christians – proud as we are- blow up the possible applications of these promises. We take them to contexts God clearly didn’t say.
We tithe more than 10% and then expect a 150% profit from our businesses. We invest our money and expect these investments to never fail because we are children of God. We lift to God a certain project or client and then claim victory in Jesus name. We pray to God about our quotas and become confident that they will be miraculously reached without working hard for it…
We raise our expectations based on our favorite Bible verses. We praise God when we get what we want. But when things go bad, as things usually do in this world, what then?
We stop talking to God. We ponder what went wrong in our relationship with Him. We sulk and think and ask Him, “Was it something I did, God?”.
Then we start getting depressed because we have failed to win His favor somehow…
After a few months, things go well again. Sales get better. And so does our mood. We feel great about ourselves. “We have God’s favor again”, we think. We breakout in praise and pat ourselves in the back.
And this becomes a regular cycle. A roller coaster ride. A regular repetition of elation by entitlement and then of self-pity through disappointments. It’s an exhausting state to be in. No wonder many in sales leave the Church eventually or don’t bother to find one.
We gotta replace this mentality with the truth – His truth. And we gotta start thinking it by ourselves. Because not all preachers will preach what we really need to hear.
God’s love for us doesn’t fluctuate based on what we’ve done. That’s clear in Scripture. You’re favored not because of what you do but because of who you believe in. He loves you in season and out of season; in times of winning and in huge setbacks; whether we believe in it or not. Tough times come for us all. And the Lord’s love stays with us through it all like the air we breathe.
God’s favor is not measured in terms of finances and achievements. Think for a moment of these Bible heroes: Elijah. Isaiah. Jeremiah. John the Baptist. Stephen. Paul. They all had the approval of God. But none of them were probably in Ancient Israel’s list of most eligible bachelors. Instead, they paid the ultimate price for being known as men of God. God’s favor offers rewards this world doesn’t understand. But one day, soon, we will all see for ourselves the eternal prize they paid dearly for.
Our situation should not dictate our faith. Our faith should dictate our situation. This is the reason why believers succeed despite the ridicule we receive regularly. We can’t help but see the glass overflowing with opportunities while most see it as broken beyond repair. Others lose hope quickly. Christians don’t and can’t. For hope is deeply rooted in them. Their hope is, literally, out of this world. They receive hope from a God who never falters. And because of this, courage is inseparable from the Christian. As one song said, “… this world is shaking, but You cannot be shaken… “. So when we’re in those low times, we should be confident that God is in control no matter what we see. He won’t let us be crushed beyond what we can bear.
Think long term. Think eternity. While it is in God’s will for us to be free from unending sorrow and despair, it is also in God’s will for us to go through some sufferings in this world for reasons that often only He can understand. To make sure you & I never think He’s toying with us, He sent His only Son to go through the same sufferings too. So sufferings, difficulties and failures clearly have a role to play in our lives. While we endure them, let’s think big. Jesus didn’t die on the cross just so we can hit our quotas, impress our bosses and get that promotion. He did so for something bigger than life. And it should take more than a few failures to lose our faith and hope. And as we go through the daily grind, let’s remember that our Savior will come again with a better world. A world he died for us to be a part of.
Understand what matters most to God to really see what’s going on. Knowing the character of God is a lifetime endeavor. One lifetime in fact is not enough to even scratch the surface of God’s character. That’s why we go to Church, so we can learn from each other what God has uniquely taught us. Gaining at least the most basic understanding of who God is helps us to keep things in perspective. Knowing, for example, that He is unimpressed with wealth except when we sacrificially use it to alleviate suffering around us, should keep us grounded to the principle of giving and not to the world’s consumerism. Knowing that God gives and also takes away should help us as well to stay humble no matter what success we have attained. We would then understand that He can take all that we have anytime with a blink of an eye, and that wealth really is just a different form of test for the believer.
I hope this writing helps believers going through tough times and even believers currently winning in life to get back on to God’s way of thinking.
No matter how stormy or pleasant life gets, it should be a relief to us to know that we’re only here for a little while. One day, all forms of God’s trials will be over. And those who persevere to the end will receive the eternal prize.