Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
These are two beatitudes Jesus spoke on the Sermon on the Mount, and yet if they hadn’t been recorded in the Scriptures it is unlikely anyone in this age and culture would have either grasped or accepted them. The impression most modern churches are leaving this generation with is that Christianity will make you rich spiritually, if not physically.
So many sermons are centered around the basic premise that Christianity is BETTER than anything the world has to offer. How it will fulfill the deep-seated hopes, dreams and desires you’ve had all your life. How the love from God is sweeter than from any other alternative source. How being filled with the Spirit is a better high than any drug you could find on the market.
All of these things are true, to a degree, but are they the full truth? Have we been presenting an incomplete Gospel that appeals to the hearts of humanity on the world’s terms? And in doing so, have we lost a sense of the Holy Otherness of our God and what it really means to be found in Christ?
A.W. Tozer puts it perfectly:
Evangelical Christians commonly offer Christ to mankind as a nostrum to cure their ills, a way out of their troubles, a quick and easy means to the achievement of personal ends. They use the right words, but their emphasis is awry. The message is so presented as to leave the hearer with the impression that he is being asked to give up much to gain more. And that is not good, however well intentioned it may be. What we do is precisely what a good salesman does when he presents the excellence of his product as compared with that of his closest competitor. The customer chooses the better of the two, as who would not? But the weakness of the whole salesmanship technique is apparent: the idea of selfish gain is present in the whole transaction.
I would argue that the greatest plague of our generation is the basic fleshly instinct of spiritual entitlement.
This is not an effort to beat people down and tell them how worthless they are. Quite the contrary! This is an attempt to recover the divine nobility of the human heart in its capacity to receive and respond to the unconditional love of God. It is about allowing our love for the Lover of our souls to rise up unfettered by the subtle conditions of an entitled mindset.
God is not interested in dating us – He is preparing us to be His BRIDE. Therefore if all we are seeking from Him are the flowers and chocolates, we are falling in love with a pursuit – not a Person. We are intended to fall more and more in love with the Man who has betrothed us to himself by HIS own choice, commitment and character. In response, we are not to lift ourselves up in our minds but stand in awe (Rom 11:20) and to love Him unconditionally in return.
And how is it possible for a Church filled with fallen humans to reciprocate Christ’s unconditional love? Because we were made in His image! Jesus is returning to claim a Bride equally yoked in love and spotless in every way. But in order for this to be accomplished, God may have to offend our fleshly assumptions and worldly expectations to draw out any conditions which prevent us from embracing Christ’s supernaturally selfless, lay-down-your-live love.
When all sense of spiritual or physical entitlement are removed, we are then be able to fully receive and respond to Him – and others – in a love without conditions. This may take the form of any trial, trouble, tribulation, testing, or temptation that threatens our view of Him as the image of Perfect Love. But if you will allow His all-consuming fire to burn away your entitled conditions, He will draw out of you a love as strong as death and a jealousy demanding as the grave.
What, then, does it mean to be UNentitled?
To be Unentitled means that you die to yourself fully and repeatedly for as long as you live. It is to take up your cross and continually follow Christ, walking in the way of love and humility that lead him to the Cross. Only a truly Unentitled spirit is equipped to successfully wage war against all that is anti-Christ in his or her personal life, community, and on this earth.
Only a truly Unentitled heart is able to place fierce loyalty to God above every other loyalty because it loves Him on the basis of WHO HE IS and not what it can receive from Him. It is this unconditional love which will allow you to pay the ever-increasing cost of discipleship to follow the Lord in thought, word and deed in the midst of a fallen world. Only a truly Unentitled heart is ready and willing to lay down its life in mature, unconditional love for God and man.