02 May No Conditions
Over the last 50 years, the U.S. rates of entitlement have risen sharply. During that same time, anxiety and depression are also on the rise. We feel more entitled than ever, and it is destroying us.
Tim Elmore posted these results recently, describing our fight against entitlement. Elmore shared a study that reported the three-part cycle of entitlement: 1. People do not get what they feel they deserve, leaving unmet expectations; 2. These expectations become injustices, resulting in anger and sadness; & 3. People remind themselves of their specialness, starting the process all over again. While the rates of entitlement are rising, it is nothing new to God.
On Sunday, we looked at the resurrection account in John from Easter Sunday. Jesus showed up to encourage the Disciples, but Thomas was running errands. Thomas came back refusing to believe in Jesus because he did not get what he deserved. Thomas felt entitled to more than he got, and he was not happy about it.
Poor old, Entitled Thomas…we all look down our noses at the Disciple who was described by Jesus as unbelieving, but that really is not fair. We are just like Thomas: we all feel entitled in some way. We all want Jesus on our terms. My life needs to look this way before I follow Jesus: I need to have the right job; I need to have the salary I deserve; I need children who behave; I need the status that shows how favored I am. No…not really.
Jesus has a great deal to say about what it is to follow Him, and none of that is connected to what we are entitled. To paraphrase Jesus in John 20:29, when he is talking about His entitled children, “Those who come to me without conditions will be blessed.” One of Jesus’ closing lessons to His followers before He left earth was about making demands on God.
It can happen so innocently. Like Thomas, we decide we should have access to what others received. The other Disciples saw Jesus, but Thomas drew a line in the sand: If I don’t get what they got, I will NOT believe in Jesus. Just like that, the story turned. Thomas goes from having the chance to be the example of what faith looks like to being the eternal example of how destructive entitlement is to faith. When Jesus showed up again, Thomas felt convicted, and he declared his faith in Jesus.
The moment we see entitlement creep into any of our relationships, and especially the one with God, we have to pull it out like the weed it is. It is only a matter of time before it destroys the intimacy, love, and faith we know. It is in our fallen nature to wonder what’s in it for me, but that is not how God created us, nor what God wants for us.
To be blessed, Jesus says to come to Him without conditions. When we decide that our life should look a certain way, we need to look to heaven and remember what Jesus says about that. The only condition that matters is whether we follow Jesus or not. That says all that needs to be said.
Blessings to you,