There is a great difference between a person with a thankful heart and one that feels entitled to the good things of life.
This current generation is of the latter type.
Our “entitlement” culture is filled with envy and jealousy. Who covet what others have. And who seek ways to take it from them.
In fact, all the current movement toward Socialism is based upon envy.
Upon the idea that what others have should belong to me or to someone else in need. And that the government should force those that have to give to those that don’t have.
Therefore, individuals today focus on what they believe the world owes them. Or what they believe God owes them.
Or, more accurately, what they demand that the world and God should give them.
And, if not, then they’ll take, by force, what they are due.
What We Deserve
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. (the founder of Bob Jones University) had a saying that has stuck with me over the years. It goes something like this: “When gratitude dies on a man’s heart, that man is well-nigh hopeless.“
That is SO true.
If we think, even for a moment, that we don’t have what we deserve, we need to think again. Because each man or woman deserves the wrath of God.
If we really want to go down the “deserve” rabbit hole.
But that is a terribly hard thing for us to accept. Especially in this “self-esteem” age. When so many people are taught that they deserve the best. Because of the basic goodness that they, supposedly, possess within themselves.
But the Christian knows that every blessing he has is only for one reason.
Which is Grace.
Grace is the Reason
“Grace” is the undeserved mercy and favor of God.
In other words, we have everything because the Lord, in His unsearchable mercy and love, has decided to give us things. And has even promised us an eternal inheritance in His Son, if we believe in Him.
Everything we have is because of His Son. Not because of ourselves.
But even many Christians often forget this.
We often believe that because of our giving of offerings or tithes, or because of our church attendance, or our participation in the ministry of the church, our membership in a church, the time we spend praying or reading the Bible, our attempts to live a holy life, and a thousand other things that we should and should not do, that God is going to bless us.
Because we have earned those blessings. As if, God owes us something for the good things we have done. Or the evil things we have refrained from doing.
Addicted to Earning God’s Blessing
Years ago, I was speaking with another believer who had become rather prosperous. He shared with me that his life changed once he started tithing his 10% to the Lord. That the Lord began to bless him financially after he made that decision.
He referenced a national Christian teacher who was very popular at the time. Explaining this teacher’s financial/tithing system which my friend had applied to his own life.
Over the years, I’ve met many believers who have followed this teaching (or similar ones). Believing that their financial, health, and other forms of “prosperity” were directly linked to their giving of a minimum of 10% to the church or other ministries.
Many Christians today tend to be very pragmatic about such things. They are often looking for something that they can do to improve their situation. Something very tangible that they can do to demonstrate to God that they are worthy of His blessings.
Now, I am not here to preach against tithing; although I don’t believe it is taught within the New Testament. Not as part of God’s new Covenant with Christians.
We are taught to give willingly. To give joyfully. And to give freely as we believe God has prospered us.
We are not taught to give out of compulsion or based on an “If-I-do-this, God-will-do-that” mentality. That is bribery. That is a false, wage-based view of our relationship to the Lord.
Which has nothing to do with the principle of Grace that is to guide our lives as Christians.
The Purity of Our Motives
“Sincerity out of a pure heart“. And “truth in the inward parts” is what the Lord desires of us.
He requires that we have an honesty before Him in the depths of our soul.
Not that we should adopt fake attitudes or disciplines that He has not created nor produced within us. Those have no value. And they also have no value for those around us.
Such as with the idea that people will be impressed or drawn to Christ by our outward good works. Which is the modern, Evangelical method of ministry and mission today. Which is the practical definition of the entire “missional” movement.
He That Ministers to You the Spirit
We are spiritual beings.
Our ministry, therefore, is that of the Spirit. It is the Lord’s ministry, of His working within and out through us, which actually speaks to other people.
Not some carefully crafted lives of outward disciplines that somehow will make others take notice of us and turn to Christ.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3: 1-5)
When we learn to walk in the Spirit, and live in the Spirit, the Lord will create thankfulness in our hearts. He will bring us to a “large place” and set our “feet upon a rock“.
It is there that we find the freedom and liberty we are meant to experience in Christ and begin to understand that we have been given all things in Christ. Even though we may not actually, visibly, have those things right now.
It is through eyes of faith, that we are able to see that we DO, in truth, have “all spiritual blessings in Christ”.
Let us be thankful for all that we have. For every blessing the Lord has given to us. And learn to walk in the reality of His grace.
Image by kordula vahle from Pixabay