April 16, 2012

The Empire of Entitlement

 

There are few things that threaten my ability to live and lead in humility like a spirit of entitlement.

In today’s culture, it’s really easy to get caught up inside of what’s been called the “empire of entitlement.”  Inside of this empire I start to think . . .

  • Life should revolve around ME.
  • Relationships are about meeting MY needs.
  • Fruitful ministry is the result of MY effort.
  • The things I have are because of MY hard work.

In this empire of entitlement I lose awareness that EVERYTHING is a gift, and it becomes so easy to lose perspective on just how much I have.

I have to be very careful, especially when things are going well, that I don’t live inside of the delusions of this empire for long. As soon as I start to believe that I have what I have because of MY hard work, it quickly leads to all kinds of unhealthy extremes. When I sense myself drifting in this direction, I have to remind myself of Scriptures like this one in Deuteronomy.  Moses warning is so relevant to many of us today. Especially those of us in leadership.

Deut 8:14-18

14 "Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that He led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath."

Who did it?

Who grew it?

Who led it?

Who inspired the idea?

Who got you through the crisis?

Who took it to the next level?

He did. As in, not you.

So today as we seek to lead and love, let us all remember this simple truth: There is a God and it’s not you. Abandon your power and control for humility and surrender. Today may we fall so in love with Jesus that we are ready to follow him wherever he guides, always trusting that, with him, we will find life and find it abundantly.

Do you ever struggle inside of this “empire of entitlement,” forgetting it’s God who gives you the power to accomplish what you accomplish and gain all that you gain?

Pete Wilson is senior pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. He is the author of Empty Promises and Plan B. He resides in Nashville with his wife Brandi and their three boys.

CC Image • jbelluch on Flickr

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