The problem with getting what you think you deserve

Ashley Dickson

During my time as a college student at the University of Florida, our sports teams won a combined three national championships. Some might say we Gator fans became entitled. 

I’ll admit, winning a game became an expectation. I would even go as far to say we became ungrateful for how special our team was. The seasons that followed were headed by different coaches and had different outcomes, and Florida fans have had to work through our entitlement issues. 

As easy as it is to feel entitled to sports wins, it’s just as to become entitled in our relationship with God. We feel jipped when we think we deserve what someone else has. The job promotion a co-worker received, the seemingly easy family dynamic a friend experiences, the all-inclusive vacation photos we scroll through on Instagram — they all become fuel for feeling like we deserve something other than what we have.

The truth is, God doesn’t “owe” us anything. In reality, the only thing we’re owed is separation from him (Romans 3:23). But because of Jesus’ free gift of grace, we are able to experience even more than what we may think we are entitled to in our relationship with Him

Two Ways Entitlement Robs Us

1. It robs us of fully experiencing God’s love. 

God’s love is expressed in His overflowing grace of giving us even more than we deserve (Ephesians  3:20). So when we think God owes us something, we don’t experience His blessings as “immeasurably more.” 

The part that’s hard for our human minds to comprehend is that God’s “immeasurably more” sometimes looks different from what we thought we needed. But it’s always better than we imagined. 

2. It robs us of joy. 

When we’re always looking for what we’re owed, we never discover how to be content in our current circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). We’ll be robbed of the joy of today. The deep love in our toddler’s sticky kisses, the unguarded laughter we experience around the dinner table with friends, the natural beauty in the creation outside our window — we’ll miss it all if all we think of is how we deserve something different. 

How to Leave Entitlement Behind

  • Confess your entitled attitude to the Lord. 

Tell God even though He already knows. Through this act of confession, we begin the process of inviting God to lead our heart in a new direction (1 John 1:19). Confession is the key that opens the gate of freedom from our old way of thinking. 

If entitlement is the attitude that breeds discontentment, then thankfulness is the attitude that breeds contentment.

  • Ask God to give you a heart of thankfulness. 

We may not always know what God wants us to do. But one thing we can know for certain is that He gives us the ability to be thankful people in every situation (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

If entitlement is the attitude that breeds discontentment, then thankfulness is the attitude that breeds contentment — the ability to experience joy in this life. We learn to recognize God’s blessings all around us when we train our minds and hearts to look for them. 

The problem with getting what we think we deserve is that we miss out on what God has for us. It’s not that He can’t give us what we want, but rather that He wants to give us so much more. Could you hand over that one thing you think God has been holding out on you in order to experience His “immeasurably more”?

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