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Week 2: Wednesday
- Mark 10:35–45
- Romans 6:20–23
- Ephesians 2:1–10
Questions to Consider
- What does God owe you? What does the world owe you?
- Why should we be thankful that God does not give to us according to what we are entitled?
- Have you ever been angry with God for not giving you what you wanted?
- How does Jesus help us to overcome our sense of entitlement?
Plan of Action
- Choose to be the servant. Pick one way to serve another person today in an unexpected way.
- Consider something you received which was undeserved. How can you leverage that gift for God’s purposes?
- When encountering another person burdened by a sense of entitlement, practice patience and grace. Listen to them. Point them to Jesus by serving them as Jesus serves them.
Living with a sense of entitlement makes for a hard life. Yet there are many who walk through life thinking God owes them and the world owes them. When things don’t go quite their way they get upset and they get angry. They live with a bitter heart. Spend a few moments in a customer service department at virtually any store and you will see the sense of entitlement play out.
We see the sense of entitlement play out in our relationships with God. We expect God to give us the job. We expect God to prevent the cancer. We expect God restore the broken relationship. But then God does not respond in the way we want him to respond.
Have you ever been angry with God? Why? It is anger misdirected. We fail to realize that everything good in our life comes from him. The rest is on us.
The irony is the more we are given, the more our sense of entitlement seems to grow. It is the most privileged that are often the most upset at God. However, the more we are given, the more that is expected of us, not the more we are entitled to. With greater privilege comes greater responsibility. When we fail to use our greater privilege for God’s kingdom purposes, he will take our privilege and give it to someone else.
God is pouring blessing into our lives. There is nothing we have apart from him. Absolutely nothing! Today the sun comes up. We have eyes to see, mouths to speak, ears to hear, noses to smell, and hands to touch. Every heartbeat is a precious gift. It all comes from him!
Our God is a God of grace. I learned the definition of grace as undeserved love. I have done nothing to deserve anything from him. Everything he gives to me is a free gift. He has been more than kind to me. Anger has no place in my relationship with him. How can I be angry with the one who has given me nothing other than lavish love?
The life Jesus lived for us is the servant life. He doesn’t ask for anything but he gives everything.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (ESV)
As we follow after him, we strive to follow his example. We may not have much to offer. But what we have, we give to him. That is what worship is. It is trading our attitude “God owes me” with the attitude “I give him everything.” In this we honor him, our Servant and Savior, who loves us with an unending love.
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So why do people get so angry with God, say when they get cancer? Is it their fault that they get this dreaded disease? My brother has cancer and his wife is still angry with God, but I don’t know what to say to her to relieve this anger towards God.
Phil Ressler says
Hi Marcia- Cancer is one of the devastating consequences of sin which entered the world. The thing about sin is it doesn’t play fair. We are all affected by the consequences of sin in different ways because we are all sinners. Not one of us has lived totally obedient to God. God shows us how to live to experience the fruit of the spirit. But we don’t live that way. The prophet Isaiah says each of us has turned our own way. We think our little sins don’t have any repercussions. We don’t think we are hurting anyone. But every time we choose our own way over God’s way, we are putting a wedge in that relationship and removing ourselves from the shelter of his protection. Think about an umbrella. As long as I stand underneath the umbrella, I am protected from the rain. But as soon as I step outside from underneath the umbrella, I am exposed to the rain. In a similar way, as we stand under God’s authority, we are sheltered from the storms in life. As soon as we step out from under his authority we are exposing ourselves. If we don’t think we step out, then we are only fooling ourselves. In 1 John 1:8 it says, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
It goes back to our relationship with God. Do we know him for who he is? Do we know him as the God who loves us and died for us? Do we know him as the God who gives us every good thing in our life? Do we know him as the God who conquered sin? God didn’t give the cancer, but God can heal the cancer. For those who believe, God may heal the cancer miraculously. He may heal the cancer eventually. For those who believe he will always heal ultimately. God did not create us for this world. He created us for eternity. We are just passing through here. Our hope is for the day when God will wipe every tear from our eyes. The old order of things will be passed away. Things such as cancer will be no more. That is why Jesus came to conquer sin and all it’s consequences. If your brother is a believer then he knows every day is one day closer to his healing. And every one of us we know we are one day closer to our healing when God will take away every pain. Heaven is where our hope is. It is easy to get angry with God when our hope is placed in this world.
Keep pointing your sister-in-law to Jesus. He is the God who conquered the cancer. He is the God who gives us every precious moment in life. He is the God who loves us with an unending love. In the midst of so much we don’t understand, God’s calling is for us to believe and trust in him. He is the light in the darkness. Our prayer is for all to see God for who he is and to work an incredible miracle.
Angela Liscio Scott says
Amen & Amen!!!
Pastor Phil, everything you said is helpful, but seems to imply that we get sick or bad things happen to us because we don’t live according to God’s plan. To me, this implies punishment. Some cancers are caused by things we do, or fail to do, but what about cancer in innocent children, or rare genetic syndromes, such as the one that took the life of an infant in my family? Where do these things come from?I know God has plans that are beyond our understanding, but do bad things that happen come from our behavior? Some people do terrible things, but may be visited by far less tragedy than others who do good. I’m just saying it’s hard to understand and accept. I know we grow from going through difficulties, but sometimes the pain we receive is nearly unbearable.