(If you received my last post and couldn’t open the link, here’s the right one:
Article about praying for Egypt.)
The other day after enjoying one of God’s gifts of pleasure, I had this inward assurance that God was yelling to the angels, “She enjoyed my gift! She enjoyed my gift!” I just sat in awe of picturing God enjoying my enjoyment of one of His gifts. It was an incredible moment, affirming what I’ve been reading in Gary Thomas’ book Pure Pleasure.
Gary has wisely balanced his book’s perspective about pleasure. Yes, God does want us to enjoy His gifts of pleasure but because we can easily deceive ourselves, we need wisdom in knowing what to actually allow and enjoy.
Gary reminds us of the “E” word as a means of evaluating whether we have that wisdom: Entitlement! He writes, “How do you know if someone sees a particular hobby or pleasure as an entitlement? That’s easy. Take it away, or even delay it for a moment. The vicious reaction will give you chills.” (pg 139).
I relate. As in, “just give me the chocolate and no one will get hurt.”
Or “You ate my left overs that I have been looking forward to eating all day?”
Or “I can’t believe all these people are at Costco just to inconvenience me.” (I didn’t think this but I acted as if I were).
Or “How dare that guy pull in front of me? Can’t he see he’s in my space?”
Or … put in your own entitlement reaction. You do have them, right?
In the moment of our demand for pleasure (or anything we think we should have), we think we not only need it, but we are entitled to it. Oh, how we deceive ourselves.
We aren’t entitled to anything but God graciously and generously gives us so many wonderful gifts, including gifts of pleasure.
Would you like to see if some gift from God has become an entitlement to you? As Gary suggests, go without it for awhile. I’ve found this to be a valuable way to see if what I’m thinking is a gift from God has been turned into an entitlement.
Lamentations 3:37-40 says, “Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass,
Unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?
Why should any living mortal, or any man,
Offer complaint in view of his sins?
Let us examine and probe our ways,
And let us return to the LORD. ” (NASB).
We cannot complain about not getting our way, having our pleasures, because we deserve nothing. God is in charge of everything and if He allows that driver to turn in front of you, maybe it’s to help you examine and probe.
(I just hope Larry hasn’t found where I stashed that chocolate.)