Our political leaders are challenged by the fiscal demands of ‘entitlement’ programs. With mountains of debt threatening to break our state and national economies, they face hard choices about Social Security benefits, spending on education and health care, and public pension programs. No beneficiaries are going to willing say, “trim my programs.” After all, that’s why they are called entitlements.

There are days when I slip into an entitlement mentality. It goes like this:  “I’m a good guy.  I’m owed … ”  It’s an ugly place and it does not long to go from brooding about how unfair life is to being angry at people for not giving me what I deserve!  In that moment, life becomes a very small bundle of ME. Gratitude becomes impossible.

Entitlement is at its worst when it enters our relationship with God. If love Self enough to believe that God “owes me,”  real spiritual sickness is soon to follow! He owes me nothing. I owe Him everything.  “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:35-37, NIV)

Need to defeat entitlement thinking?  Here’s the way. Cultivate gratitude! Practice giving thanks today, right where you are. Thanksgiving inspires worship and faith grows. Consistently offering heartfelt thanks to God breaks the mesmerizing hold of Self. This births a new humility in which we willingly trust and obey the Lord.

Disobedience is always fed by the root of ‘me-ism,’ the insistence that Self must be served above all things – the welfare of others and even God Himself. Look at these examples from the Scripture.
  • Eve sinned because she wanted to indulge her desire.
  • Moses sinned when he allowed himself to be fed up with serving the ever-demanding people Israel.
  • David sinned when he thought he just had to have Bathsheba, and his lust fed an escalating series of sins that led to proxy murder!
Perhaps you are in a hard place; struggling to meet your bills, or dealing with disappointment in a broken relationship, or facing a health crisis. As you see it, you deserve better!  Don’t go there. Instead, choose to thank God for His goodness and for His promise to provide all you need, not all you think you need.

The NT tells us to ‘crucify the sinful nature.’  That’s a brutal phrase that reveals the intensity with which we must deal with Self.  Give it no place! One way is to offer what the Bible calls a “sacrifice of praise to God.” That means we intentionally stop complaining and give Him thanks.  Further the Word urges us to offer this sacrifice “continually, … the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name .” (Hebrews 13:15, KJV)

God cannot bless those who think of themselves as entitled! But, to the humble, who are full of gratitude, He shows abundant mercies.

Here’s the word from the Word. Let it own your heart and mind. It’s His divine prescription for peaceful contentment. “Offer proper sacrifices, and trust in the Lord. Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let the smile of your face shine on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine. I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”
(Psalm 4:5-8, NLT)

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