We are an entitled people. Rooted in our sinful flesh, we walk this earth as if everyone owes us something. We often get caught up in thinking that we deserve this, or we deserve that, only to be bent out of shape when we do not receive what we think we ought to receive. Often this is the type of mind we have toward God. We have the tendency to take advantage of our salvation, thinking deep down that we were entitled to have it. We tend to think that God should do this for us, or He should do that for us, because we believe ourselves to be greater than we actually are. I think that a little humility would serve us all well, especially myself, as my prideful flesh creeps up in my entitled thinking.
Philosopher René Descarte wrote, “Instead of thinking he [God] has withheld from me or deprived me of those things that he has not given me, I ought to thank God, who never owed me anything, for what he has bestowed upon me” (Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, p.40). If we do not protect ourselves, and protect our hearts, we will fall into the temptation to think like the first portion of Descartes’s statement. We might think, “if God loved me, he would allow me a job to make more money,” or “why is God withholding from me what he is seemingly giving to the neighbors?” If we allow are sinful flesh to rise up within us, we will begin to look around at everyone through the eyes that God is withholding what we think He needs to be giving us.
However, as Descartes asserts, God never owed us anything. If God owed us anything, it was eternal damnation for being His enemies. Scripture speaks to the reality that all of us are born dead in our trespasses and sins, totally depraved, enemies of God, that deserve nothing but wrath. In fact, Paul goes so far in Ephesians to indicate that we are naturally children of wrath. With this being the case, it would appear that naturally God owes us wrath. Thus, if we let ourselves creep into the thinking that God owes us something, let’s automatically move toward the reality that He owes us wrath.
He does not owe us life, yet He allows us to breathe. He does not owe us shelter, but He provides the means for us to have it. He does not owe us food, yet He blesses us with a job to provide. He does not owe us health, yet He gives that to many of us. Most importantly, He does not owe us salvation, yet He sacrificed His own Son to bestow salvation upon His people. God owes you and I nothing, but being full of grace and mercy, He has given us everything in Christ.
Do not think that God will withhold anything from you. God will never withhold from you what He knows is good for you. He will not withhold something good for His people. While this is entirely true, what God knows to be good for us might not line up with what we think is good for us. You may think that a new Mercedes is going to be good for you, but God may disagree. God knows what is good for you and He is going to give you what is good and perfect. James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect giftis from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
God knows what you need, and He is going to give you what you need. He owes you nothing, but has given you much more than you have ever needed in Christ Jesus. Whether you make another dollar the rest of your life, or have another day of health, be encouraged that the Father loved you so much that He sent the Son to be a sacrifice for your sin, which is beyond anything in this world could offer.
Purchase Descartes work here: Meditations on First Philosophy (Hackett Classics)