I hear these words a lot…in my head. Sometimes I hear it from others, but mostly me.
Sitting in church the other morning, I was graciously reminded that I don’t. I don’t deserve it. Not really.
I think I do sometimes. I think I deserve a comfortable home, a new pair of shoes, something to eat, better service – things that I take for granted every day and think I deserve. I even get frustrated when some of those things don’t happen or don’t happen like I think they should.
Truth be told, I really don’t deserve any of it.
Who am I, really? I am a lowly human being who sins on a regular basis – like over and over and over again, doing the same thing. There’s nothing in that to warrant special attention, acclaim, praise, “success,” or even my own way. I don’t rate anything at the end of the day.
What I really deserve is far worse. You may know the verse: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Those “sins,” those times I mess up every single day have one reward and it’s not a good one. What I really rate is death, eternal separation from a God who loves me.
I deserve it.
But thankfully, God doesn’t give me what I deserve.
You can see the second part of the verse. Instead of what I deserve, He gives me the gift of eternal life and He gives me so much more. Truly, He gives me not just life to come, but life today. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Life. Abundant, eternal life.
This reminder brings me to a place of humility and gratefulness. Humility and gratefulness lead me to a life of wholehearted obedience. It’s a natural response to such grace.
To love God is my first response and the second response is to love others.
People who are in the same place I am. Stuck in a cycle of sin with the “reward” being one none of us ever want to encounter. The people around me, nice and not-so-nice, struggle with fear, inadequacy, heartbreak, and failure just like I do and some of them have never met Jesus.
This reminder of who I am and what God has done for me spurs me on to love others as well. Realizing we are all in this together, knowing the grace that has been poured out to me, my response should be one of love and grace poured out.
Yet here I sit on any given day frustrated, even angry, because things don’t happen as I think they should. I tell my kids all the time that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Sometimes I should take my own advice.
This is a constant struggle and I am sure it is human nature, but I will continue to pray that I will remember what I really deserve – not to live as a victim, live in depression, or become a doormat, but to receive and extend grace and love by being obedient to the One who loves me.
I don’t get what I deserve. Thank goodness.
Do you ever get in a mode where you feel like you deserve something? How do you keep a mindset of humility and gratefulness?