Every now and then, I hear or read something which flips the way I’ve always looked at things upside down. The latest instance of this came courtesy of Francis Chan. He wrote, “We believe we deserve certain rights as humans. Yet we give little thought to the rights God deserves as God.” How many times have you heard (or said yourself), “Why did God allow this to happen?” Questions like these assume we have certain rights ascribed to us as humans.
They also ignore the fact that, before we can ever begin to discuss what we as humans deserve, we must first consider what rights and expectations are ascribed to God simply because He is God. When was the last time you gave this any thought? We are quick to proclaim our own offense without ever considering our very declaration might offend the object of our affection. We first and always must consider what God deserves from us.
Like most sin, this comes back to our terminal selfishness. We think of ourselves first and God – at best – second. It’s a far cry from surrendering our will to God. Truth be told, our commitment to Him is shallow and weak on our best days. I think of the old hymn, “I Surrender All”, and realize I’ve surrendered very little. My instinct is still to self-preservation, comfort, security, and entertainment. I deserve none of these things. What I deserve is an eternity separated from God. What God deserves is my total devotion and unflinching obedience. If you don’t like the separation of powers, maybe you should become your own god and make your own rules. You obviously can’t do that any more than I can, but it is the way we all live. We make ourselves to be god and live our lives according to our standards and principles instead of giving to God what God deserves.
Selfishness comes down to a lack of proper focus. We are staring at our circumstances and asking, “Why?”, as if God has suddenly lost control and has no way to deal with what happened to us. To be certain, Jesus is never happy when calamity strikes our lives. He created a perfect world of perfect humans, but we chose to let Satan invade. We are now dealing with the repercussions of that decision compounded over 10,000 years of disobedience. Jesus always wants what is best for us and guarantees eternity by His side if we only will choose to trust and serve Him alone.
The next time you are tempted to think you deserve better, or you don’t deserve what is happening to you, make certain you are not standing in between your circumstances and what God deserves. We are most at risk when we are outside His will. When we are ascribing to God what God deserves, we can be confident we are in His will. Our job is to bring glory to God through the way we love and the way we live. When this becomes our focus we never have to worry about anything else. Circumstances will come and go. Disappointments will not abate. But as long as we are giving to God what God deserves, our lives will be fulfilled and complete.