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Sunday
Nov242013

Entitlement Or Expectations?

Okay, it’s now official…“selfie” is the word of the year as announced by the Oxford Dictionary. Selfie is taking a picture of yourself.

“Selfie” carries with it a perceived or potential inordinate focus on oneself and has been around since the Garden of Eden—you, as the center of your own universe. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a picture of yourself and sending it to some friends. I’ve taken a few myself during travels to far flung places. But, like anything else, it can be overdone, twisted and the heart behind it may be communicating that it’s all about me…everything is about me.

From what I’ve been observing and hearing, people are taking lots of pictures of themselves and sending them to boyfriends, girlfriends, friends in general and/or posting them on social media.

What’s behind some/all of this “selfie” stuff? Many have grown up in a family and among friends where the message has been sent that you are special, unique, one-in-a-million. In some cases, this has resulted in an unhealthy focus on, and absorption with, myself (my looks, my hair, my body, my intelligence…I’m special…look at me…pay attention to me…coddle me!)

The interesting thing, from a Christian perspective, is that there is truth here. Each one of us is special and unique--not because our parents/friends told us we are, but because God says so. I’ve heard it expounded from the pulpit that you are not special but God is special.  You are not unique, but God is. You are a sinner--nothing special about that. But the fact of the matter is that you are unique and special and one-in-a-million. God has never made another person exactly like you and never will.

Psalm 139:13,14 (ESV): “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb…I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” There are no two snowflakes alike, no two fingerprints alike; so you can now access your iPhone with a touch of your unique fingerprint.

It was Robert Fulghum in his delightful little book, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, who said: “the statisticians figure that about 60 billion people have been born so far. And here comes the statistic of statistics—with all the possibilities for variation among the sex cells produced by each person’s parents, it seems quite certain that each one of the billions of human beings who has ever existed has been distinctly different from every other human being.

The truth of the matter is that God has created you special and unique; but, depending on how you view your specialness/uniqueness, it can breed either entitlement or expectation.

Some may use this sense of “specialness” to think they are entitled to certain privileges. This gives them the right to live above the rules, or without rules, because they are so special and unique. Sadly, there are some Christian leaders who fall into this trap. Their view of ministry and their role in that ministry can result in creating an unwise and unhealthy self-absorption that leads to celebrity worship.

People with a strong sense of entitlement may also slip into playing the role of the victim and assume that their problems and mistakes are somebody else’s fault, and they take no personal responsibility for their lives or their sin. After all, I’m special/unique… how could this possibly be my fault? Someone else is always to blame--not them.

As Christians, we are special/unique so that we can have high levels of expectation of what God wants to do in/through us for His glory--not in order to have levels of entitlement regarding what I want to do for my glory.

Along with a sense of expectation also comes a sense of responsibility. What can often go along with a sense of entitlement is a sense of consumerism instead of responsibility.

FACT ONE: We are all created by God and are special and unique.

FACT TWO: Our specialness can either lead to a sense of entitlement or a sense of expectation.

FACT THREE: Entitlement can lead to self-focus, self-glory and pride.

FACT FOUR: Expectation should lead to God-focus, God’s glory and humility.

+ In light of your uniqueness, do attempt big things for God and expect big things from God. Use who He made you to honor him--not honor yourself.

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true and in him there is no falsehood,” John 7:18 (ESV)

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