If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5-7)
The attitude of entitlement seems to dominate our culture. It’s a nasty weed that creeps in under the fruit bearing qualities of our soul. It often goes unnoticed until it is seen standing exposed above the fruit.
Entitlement conveys that we deserve something better than everyone else for the same, less, or zero effort. It’s about receiving something based on an exalted view of who we are or what we've done; thinking we have a right to whatever makes us happy.
This line of thinking never goes well.
Think of a runner training for a race. Just because a runner trains hard does not entitle him to win. There are other runners who train harder, have a better stride, or simply run faster. And even they are not entitled to win. The fact remains, no amount of work entitles us to anything (except maybe exhaustion).
Entitlement convinces us that doing all the right things and working hard exempts us from hardship. The Bible does not teach this. The Bible teaches that we are a sinful people and in major debt. We are actually owed hardship. But because He is full of grace and mercy, God saw fit to ask His son to pay off our debt. And Jesus obeyed the Father.
Entitlement has no place in a believer’s heart. Because anything we are or have in this life is because God is good, rather than a result of our effort (James 1:17). Yes, we should work hard; it’s biblical. But work was designed to be an expression of worship to God; not a means to get what we want from Him.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
Contrast entitlement with expectation.
Expectation is rooted in faith and is critical in the life of a believer. James says that we should expect God to answer when we ask Him something, and that we should ask with faith, not doubting.
We don’t deserve answers, or anything for that matter, but because of who God is – good, merciful, kind, loving, and full of grace – we can expect He will answer us when we call on Him. And we can expect His answer will glorify Him; not necessarily make us happy.
Entitlement says, “I deserve it because of who I am and what I've done.”
Expectation says, “I expect it because of who He is and what He’s done.”
Entitlement says, “I have faith in myself. I can do it.”
Expectation says, “I have faith in God. I can’t do it, but He can.
Entitlement is limited. Expectation is limitless.
May your faith rise to the level of expectation!