If you’ve ever prayed, “God, give me what I deserve,” take time today to thank him for not answering that prayer!
Often our times of prayer, and our lives in general, are fixated on what we want from God and specifically, on the things we feel we have earned or deserve.
These are often legitimate and painful prayers. Health. Healing. A job.
Other times they are more superficial. Comfort. Ease. “Happiness.”
Whatever our prayer, our starting point is typically one of entitlement.
The truth is, entitlement will only breed frustration and will never produce gratitude.
The ultimate truth is, we don’t deserve anything. More accurately, we deserve hell. Not just for eternity, but this moment. We are sinners who have rebelled against a holy God. Hell and eternal separation from God is what we deserve.
Jesus took our place.
He pardoned us.
He took our hell and put it on his shoulders and bled and died on the cross as our perfect and holy substitute.
After our guilty verdict and death sentence, the Judge takes off his robe, steps into our jail cell, and offers us his hand. His name is Jesus and he tells us he will die in our place.
We let him.
We are free.
We step out of the prison yard for the first time. Breathing fresh, clean, crisp air, with the sun beaming on our face. How do you feel?
How will you live?
How will you pray?
I’m not advocating to stand on a soapbox and tell people they deserve hell. What I’m saying is that when I realize this is true about me, it changes everything.
I look at my marriage in a whole new light.
Instead of feeling like I’m entitled to my wife changing to my preferences and making my life easier (the way most marriage books are written), I realize the precious gift of mercy she is, a mercy from God I don’t deserve.
Instead of feeling like I need more stuff, I’m thankful for every single possession I have. This soft seat. This cup of coffee. The socks I’m wearing. (these are all way better than hell)
These are incredible gifts of mercy I do not deserve.
I deserve hell, but I’ve been given all this!
Every minute of life is an incredible gift of mercy.
Every person in my life is an incredible gift of mercy.
Mercy is incomparable.
You cannot receive mercy and then say, “Yeah but that person got more mercy than me.” Or, “Well thanks but how about a little more?”
The best way to thank God for what He has given you is by thanking him for what He hasn’t.
- Ep. 87: Dr. Peter Sung on the Post-Church Church - September 20, 2023
- Ep. 86: Cameron Horner on Disability in the Church and if God Still Heals - August 25, 2023
- Ep. 85: Dr. Terence Lester on how confronting buried racial history can build racial solidarity - August 9, 2023