The letter almost stopped my heart. Someone else’s choice was about to cost me, or at least it looked that way. I responded (okay, reacted) with the usual panic and ranting before taking a breath, doing a little research, and finding a possible way out of this unfair situation. In the process, I made an interesting discovery about myself. It came out while updating a friend on the saga.
“What really upsets me is that I try very hard to be responsible and do the right thing. And now I might suffer the consequences of someone else’s irresponsibility. It just doesn’t seem fair.” I admitted that I’d been praying along those lines, you know, in case God was unaware of my flawless behavior record.
Next thing I knew we were having a frank discussion about our tendency to approach God as if He owes us.
I’ve been through a hard time and am overdue for a windfall of blessings.
I faced a painful process with integrity, even when tempted to do otherwise, therefore God should grant me favor in pretty much every area from now on.
I follow the rules; I deserve to be rewarded for that.
I am careful with my money, so my bank account should be considered sacred, never to be touched by the trials of life.
Yet, nowhere in the Bible could we find evidence that any of the above warranted some kind of divine payback. Yes, God rewards faithfulness, but He doesn’t guarantee that we will never suffer for someone else’s choices or have life fall apart after doing each step correctly.
Job, a righteous man, lost everything.
Jesus was perfect and paid the ultimate price for other people’s sins.
“God owes us nothing,” my friend said.
And I had to agree. I could look back on many blessings that came after standing strong when it was difficult or holding on to my integrity when it would have been easier not to, but even with that, He wasn’t obligated to make anything go my way. God did promise one thing though: no matter what happened, He would take care of me.
What a sobering, humbling thought.
When have you caught yourself approaching God as if he owed you? How does belonging to Him seeing Him work in your life stir your desire to do the right thing no matter what?