Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: First World Problem (04/17/14)
TITLE: Entitlement's Penalty
By Diane M. Bowman
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'My steak was cooked too long.' 'They forgot to put whipped cream on the coffee I ordered.' 'The waitress is too slow.' 'My salad wasn't chopped fine enough.' I am entitled to have everything I want, how I want it, and when I want it. We've begun to believe it. Have you stopped to consider what the penalty of entitlement may be?
In Haiti, people eat cookies made from mud, desperately trying to survive. In America, we hear statements like 'I can't eat dairy.' 'Does it have gluten?' 'Vegetarian only, please.' Some people really do need to eat only the special diet they follow but many do not. Not only do we have the right to enough to eat but it must be exactly what we want. What is the price we pay for being entitled to 'have it all'?
What is it that prompts us to think that we are entitled to have everything just as we want it? Could it be that we think too highly of ourselves? Have we lost the realization that God is God? Have we allowed ourselves to begin to think that He really isn't much different than we are? Have we even subtly permitted our hearts to believe we are the final authority in our own lives? In Romans 1:21-32, Paul describes what will happen to a person or a society that stops honoring God as God. Picture a spiral staircase going down into a deep, dark, stinking pit. You take the first step when you stop glorifying God as God, the second step is having an ungrateful heart, the third is to allowing morally impure thoughts to occupy your mind, the fourth is to not recognizing what you have permitted yourself to become, and the fifth is declaring yourself wiser than God. The staircase continues on, deeper and deeper into the darkness of the pit until you reach the point that God finally allows you to choose separation from Him (verse 28).
And still the question remains: Is there a penalty for having such a strong desire to have our every wish fulfilled? The next few verses in Romans 1 describe how a person lives after choosing separation from God: "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." (Romans 1:29-32 KJV) Could this be the price we pay for entitlement? Is it living in a society filled with rampant wickedness? Is it living a life lost in rampant wickedness?
What can a disciple of Jesus do to free himself from the sense of entitlement that surrounds us? Every one of us has at some point in our lives found ourselves slipping down that spiral staircase. Maybe you find yourself near the bottom. There is one difference between this staircase and the one that leads to your basement: you don't need to climb back to the top one step at a time, slogging through the muck. Whether you are near the bottom or have only descended a step or two, you can cry out to Jesus. Take His hand and He will lift you out of the horrible pit. Jesus will place your feet on a rock, direct your steps, and put a song of praise in your mouth that will glorify God as God. (Psalm 40:1-3)
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