Selfish, Self-Centered, and Entitled

I am profoundly unaware of how selfish and even self-entitled I really am. As I lift up my prayers and thanks to God I cannot help but to notice how much my prayers revolve around me and my family. Now on one hand we have been extremely blessed and I am truly thankful for the blessings that we have in our lives, but on the other hand I feel my prayers lack much of anything beyond me and my family. Sure there are certain things that are on my mind that I pray about, but mostly I am self-centered. My world, my universe, my vision is pretty short sighted. As I have been becoming more aware of this I have noticed that my prayers have begun to expand and become more meaningful. I have begun to focus on others, not just myself.

There are so many things that we can take for granted in life and have come to expect. We have come to expect our freedom to worship, to walk down the street in safety, to say what we want to who we want, and to be able to have things our way, but we so often fail to see the cost. We fail to see the thousands of lives that have been lost to award such freedoms. We fail to see the strife that our law enforcement officers and first responders go through every day so instead we criticize them and hold them to a much higher standard than we would ever hold ourselves. We should be supporting them and praying for them, interceding on their behalf. They face evil every single day and are barraged with attacks from both a physical and a spiritual enemy. We need to pray for our military and all of our first responders.

Photo taken by wonderferret on Flickr
Photo taken by wonderferret on Flickr
We have come to expect that we deserve to be cared for by everyone and treated fairly, even though we do not do this ourselves. There are so many people who are actually being persecuted and are being hurt every day, Christians and non-Christians alike, that are being talked down to, demonized, slandered, and even physically harmed because of things like race, education, money, sex, physical abilities, and the likes of these things. These people deserve our prayers and our support because they are people. Unfortunately often times they receive support from people who have their own cause, who do not want to make things better, that really just want to stir up animosity and tension. They want to feel powerful and as though they are fighting to gain something for their cause, but instead they are hurting the very individuals that have actually been hurt. Instead they are creating further tension in a world that already has too much and they are creating a bigger divide between people. We need to pray for these people, both those who have been discriminated against as well as those who are stirring the pot and causing damage. We need to pray and support anyone that we see who is treated in a way that we would not like to be treated regardless of what they look like or where they are from. We need to stand with them publicly and let them know that they are loved, and we need to pray for them privately.

Then we have the niceties that seem to end up in prayers all of the time, my own included. We have come to expect to be able to get an education at all costs, government assistance because it is owed to us even though we may not be willing to work or do anything to help ourselves. Even though we feel we are entitled to a nice car, the newest phone, a big house, etc… Now of course there are many who do need help, legitimately, and of course we should do what we can to help them, but is it necessarily the government’s job to do this? We have come to rely upon the government for everything instead of God. We look to the government for money for school, jobs, healthcare, disability insurance, welfare, safety, and to otherwise stand up for what we deserve, and we look to them to provide these things at all costs.

We are an entitled people. We are self-centered. We take vacations we can’t afford, buy things that we don’t need and can’t afford, expect assistance from someone somewhere, and otherwise expect people to care for us even though we may not care for them. We don’t deserve these things, we deserve death.

We deserve death because we are sinful in all of our pride, boasting, self-centeredness, and indulgence. We see injustices every day but do nothing to stop them or to even lift them up in prayer and petition God to care for them. We deserve death because we have rebelled against God and have gone against his teachings to love Him and to love our neighbors (Mk. 23:30-31), instead of blessing those who persecute us we curse them and seek vengeance (Rom. 12:14-21), we expect to reap that of which we have not sewn (Mt. 25:14-30). We are self-seeking and do not deserve what we think we deserve. Because of our sins we deserve death, but take heart for there is hope. There is still time to turn from our ways. “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). We still have time to turn to him so that when the final judgement comes we can be stand before Him and know that we have turned from our ways to follow Him.

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Hebrews 12:12-17
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

We deserve death and nothing else because of our sin, but in our Lord Jesus and in Him alone we can be made righteous in the eyes of God. We can be holy, but we must turn from our ways and instead turn to the ways of God. We must welcome people with open arms and love and set aside ourselves. We must learn to stand up against the wickedness of the world and fight for those who are being attacked by the enemy. Satan and his demons are very real and they are masquerading around the world as things of pleasure, desire, and entitlement, but these things are not life giving they are death. Jesus Christ is the only thing that can give us life and life eternal, all other roads lead to death and destruction.

prayFather I am so sinful and am becoming ever more aware of the darkness that resides within me. Lord your word says that you are light and that there is no darkness within you and my desire is to be within you. Remove the darkness from me oh Lord and lift my eyes to you. Open my eyes to all those who are hurting around me and are in need. Break my heart for the lost and the broken Lord so that I can become an effective minister of who you are. Help me to put aside my selfishness and replace it with selflessness and a desire to please only you who has given me all that I have and who can take it away in an instant. Father strengthen me and my resolve for you. I know that as time continues to go on that I will see more hurt and evil in this world and that the very liberties that I take for granted today may be no more, but I also know that I can be an influence for you and for righteousness, but I need you. I cannot do these things on my own or in my own power. I desperately need you Lord, have mercy on my, and commission me to do your work. Find me worthy of being called your child. You are great and mighty and all that you do is holy and pure. I praise you God in all of my days. You alone are God and are the one and only who can save a wretch like me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.

Living a Life of Comfort

I was thinking about my life today and how I really have it pretty good. God has blessed my life immensely. I do not live in want; we have a roof over our head, we have full bellies, and we have no real substantial worries about anything. My wife and I are able to help people as we feel led to do so through the grace of God. All in all we are able to live a fairly comfortable life, but are we supposed to? Does comfort equate to easy? If we are living life on the easy track than are we really doing what God has called us to do? If we never have hardships can we really know God in all the depths of His glory?

Revelation 3:15-17
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

Have we become so comfortable in our life that we have become like the church in Laodicea prophesied about above? Have we become lukewarm to the point where God is ready to spit us out of His mouth? I know in my life I can say that I often times try to do everything that I can to be comfortable. This occurs with me at work, at home, and even in the public. I become so focused on having a “good day” without much stress or turmoil that I think I often times lose sight of what God is trying to do around me and through me. By living a life of comfort we are just like the church of Laodicea. God has not called us to live in comfort, in fact He specifically says that we will be persecuted just as Christ was persecuted because “no servant is greater than his master” (Jn. 15:20). When I speak of living in comfort I don’t mean contentment because they are two very different things, we can learn to be content in all things regardless of our economic or social status (Phil. 4:11-13), but comfort speaks directly to whether or not we are taking risk for God.

Satan wants us to be comfortable, he doesn’t want us to live a life of fear, because fear drives people to Christ. It seems contrary to what we think about Satan, but he wants us to be as comfortable in our lives as possible. He knows that comfort is what we typically look for, but comfort is a deception from Satan himself. Comfort is contrary to the contentment that we learn from trusting in God. As Christians we do not have to, and should not, live in a life of comfort, but in all things we should rejoice.

Phil. 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Through Christ we have gained everything, but it does not end there. We cannot fall into the trap of believing that once we are saved the work is done. In fact when we are saved our work has just begun. Just think about the countless number of people God placed in the path of your life to direct you towards Him before you received Christ. We are all members of the body of Christ and we each have an important role to fill. No one is greater than the other, but working together we bring the fullness of Christ into this world (1 Cor. 12:12-31).

So, are you living a life of comfort? If so do you really know the one True God or have you been deceived by the master deceiver who wants you all to himself? We are not called into comfort, we are called into obedience “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). So re-examine your life and determine if God is working in you and through you and do this often. If He is working in you then you will not simply sit back in comfort, “He will transform you through the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).

When we truly know what God’s will is we cannot simply sit back in the comfort of our own life, we MUST take action. We MUST bring the light to the rest of the world who have been lied to and deceived just like we once were. We MUST spread the Gospel message through love and perseverance. We must NOT be conformed “to the pattern of this world” Rom. 12:2. The world, ie. Satan, wants you to live in comfort, he wants you to live for yourself, he wants you to do everything that you can to make sure that you are taken care of. When he gets you to do this he makes you ineffective. He turns you into a bench-warmer, a non-player, he makes you lukewarm. Don’t let him make you ineffective, the body needs you and you need the body.

Father we thank you that we are yours and not Satan’s. Help us to become highly effective Christians who truly live out the purpose that you have placed on our lives. Show us where we have been deceived by the enemy into thinking that we need to be comfortable in life to be happy. Teach us to be content in all things and to Rejoice! Father, we desperately long for you and your touch in our life. Teach us how to grow in faith and how to strengthen the body by multiply and edifying the body. Give us your heart so we can feel what you feel out those around us, give us your eyes so that we can see their pain and sorrow first hand, give us your feet so that we move into action, and give us your hands to care for all those we encounter. We do not want to be spit out, so revive us! Remind us what it was like when we first came to know you. Build a fire in our soul that is in-content with living a life of comfort. Transform our entire being into what you want us to be. Father, we love you and want to make you proud. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be your children. Thank you for making us clean through the blood of your Son who died on the cross so that we may live and we thank you that He rose again so that we could have life eternal with you. It is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.