I’ve been thinking a lot about “entitlement.” Entitlement is the idea that I’m entitled to something; that I should have something or even be something. It means, “I deserve this or that.”

I think our anger or frustration or irritation, maybe many ungodly responses could stem from this. We have a goal or we are expecting something or we’ve always had it a certain way–and we think we should have it our way!

After all, doesn’t the commercial say, “Have it your way!”?

But James 4: 13-17 tells us, “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Scripture is clear, we have nothing without God’s design. Good and bad are in His hands. We deserve absolutely nothing because we are sinners and originally separate from God. Anything good we receive is by His gracious hand. We deserve nothing and can expect nothing. How much more joyful we would be if we surrendered all our perceived rights and privileges to Him and acknowledged that He can do with us as He desires. And the great thing is that He only wants our good! Even in the midst of struggle, challenge or pain.

As I look back to 15 months ago when Audrey came to live with us, I sat on the patio watching the sun set, weeping, knowing my life was ruined. God began a stripping of my “entitlements”: I expect and deserve to travel whenever I want; I expect and deserve to do during the day whatever I want; I expect and deserve to not fix dinner whenever I want. The list goes on and on. I had truly bought into the attitude of the empty nester: “my life is my own.”

Well, the struggle and the stripping continues but it’s not as painful. The entitlements are more glaring to me and I’m willing to see them as attitudes of disobedience. And God is pleased, I know.