Let’s face it; entitlement has become the new social currency! We stamp our feet like petulant children wanting to get our own way. We might get what we think we deserve, but we never get the peace we yearn for. We may feel a momentary sense of achievement and scratch our selfish moral itch, but we never really feel the satisfaction of hard work and the true empowerment of humility. Don’t look at the crazy mobs you see on TV or the “entitled generation” we complain about – let’s look at ourselves and try and figure out if we are operating out of empowerment or entitlement – even in our worship.
In this world that emphasizes entitlement and self-centeredness, it is essential for believers to grasp the concept of empowerment through faith rather than a sense of entitlement through selfish standards. In Romans 10:1-4, the apostle Paul speaks about the righteousness of faith and challenges us to shift our perspective from entitlement to empowerment. This small section of scripture can help us realize how entitled we have become.
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.Romans 10:1-4
There is a passion that burns within us. It’s a passion that drives worship and selfishness at the same time. We have a passion for life. We want to live a good life. We want the good things. That passion, even to live forever, has been given to us by God. Satan transformed this empowering passion into debilitating entitlement. He placed within us the concept of entitlement rather than empowerment when he said to Eve: “You can be like God!” And at that moment, instead of passion turning to zeal for God, it flipped the switch and made the human psyche believe that our lives are in our control and we deserve to take from it what we want. We became blind to what our obedience and humility in the presence of Jesus provide. We even allow this entitlement mentality to affect our worship. “I have given; therefore, I am entitled to receive.”
Paul acknowledges that our zeal must be grounded in true knowledge. It is essential for us to recognize that zeal without understanding can lead to misplaced priorities and misguided efforts.
The Pursuit of Righteousness
Paul says that righteousness cannot be achieved through selfish religious practice. Entitled Christians are the most dangerous! We create our own religious laws that we know we can jump through (even though others can not) so that we can claim to be entitled to the blessings that come from our entitled obedience.- OUCH!
Many of Paul’s contemporaries sought to establish their own righteousness by adhering to the law, believing their efforts would merit salvation. However, the sense of peace and balance (righteousness) we seek can only be found in Christ Jesus. We cannot earn it through our own works but receive it as a gift of grace through faith. When we live our lives like this, empowered through Christ, we become the most dangerous and defeat the Devil’s attempts at enabling an entitlement culture in the Church!
Shifting from Entitlement to Empowerment
The concept of entitlement suggests that we deserve certain rights or privileges simply because of who we are or what we have done. However, Jesus’ entire message to humanity challenges this mindset. Rather than feeling entitled to salvation or righteousness, peace, finances, status, or a sense of religious success (or whatever else we seem to think we have a holy right to), we are called to recognize our need for a Savior. We are empowered through faith in Jesus Christ, understanding that He alone provides the righteousness we desperately need.
The Role of Faith
Paul emphasizes that faith in Jesus is the key to receiving the righteousness of God. Through faith, we are empowered to experience the transformative work of Christ in our lives. Faith requires us to surrender our self-sufficiency and trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, in the face of death, and His resurrection and ascension. It is not about our efforts but about believing in the sufficiency of Christ.
Our lives are transformed when we grasp the truth of righteousness through faith. We are no longer driven (passion and zeal) through a sense of entitlement but by deep gratitude and purpose. We understand that our worth and identity are rooted in Christ, not in our own achievements. Empowered by faith, we can confidently live out God’s purposes, knowing that our righteousness comes from Him.
At The End of The Day…
The passage in Romans 10:1-4 challenges us to shift our perspective from entitlement to empowerment. It reminds us that our righteousness is not earned through our own works but is received as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ. When we understand and embrace this truth, we are free from the burden of entitlement and empowered to live a life of purpose and gratitude. Let us strive to be people who walk in the righteousness that comes from God, relying on His grace and trusting in His promises.