Reference: Colossians 3:15-17
Our series title is “Mature in Christ”, this is the sixth in the series. We are reflecting on what it takes to grow into the image of Jesus – the process that’s involved, and so on. Our passage is Colossians 3:15-17. We’ve been looking these last three messages at chapter 3, looking at what Paul was saying, countering the false teachers that were affecting the Colossian believers. This is the summation of his argument; and he goes on in the next part to application in the home, in the workplace, and so on.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:15-17, NASB)
We live in what’s been termed by some as an age of Entitlement. During the week I read an article from a mid-twenties young lass who I thought showed incredible maturity. I’m just going to share a little of that with you now (it’s on the Desiring God website). I’m encouraged to see that level of maturity, of awareness, in someone in their twenties. Chelsea Patterson Sobolik is a guest contributor at Desiring God. She says,
Many of my friends were recently invited on an all-expenses-paid international trip. Great for them — but I was left out.
Of course, my first reaction was not to rejoice in their good fortune, or delight that they got to enjoy an incredible experience. Initially, my heart was jealous, hurt, and stinging under a sense of entitlement.
I’m in my mid-twenties, and my generation is notorious for our attitudes of entitlement. … (Entitlement Will Rob You of Rest)
[I think that while it may be true for Millennials, it’s probably true (particularly since the Second World War) of the Baby Boomer generation onwards – we think we deserve more than we do. And when we don’t get it, our “entitlement siren” starts blaring. When it does, we often act irrationally in a way that looks foolish from the outside.]
So how can we recognize our own sense of entitlement, and take steps to surrender it to God? First, we need to understand what entitlement truly is.
Entitlement is the belief that we inherently deserve privileges or special treatments, or that we have the right to something. Entitlement shows no partiality; it will reach for life’s greatest gifts and claim its smallest pleasures. When it comes to the big parts of life, we can find ourselves thinking along these lines:
- “I deserve to have children, so why am I struggling with infertility? After all, aren’t children a blessing from God?”
- “I’m tired of being single. I’ve remained pure and sought Christ, so why hasn’t he brought a spouse into my life?”
- “I’m such a hard worker. I don’t understand why I still can’t manage to find a high-paying job.”
But entitlement can also touch smaller issues:
- “I’m a good homemaker and work hard to keep the house clean and tidy. I deserve to have a nicer, bigger home.”
- “I work so hard to provide for my family. I deserve to watch TV when I come home.”
- “I’ve been good with my finances. I deserve to buy what I want for a change.”
Of course, as sinners, the only thing we deserve is God’s judgment. Therefore, we are not overstating matters when we say with John Piper, “A sense of deservedness or entitlement will keep us from knowing Christ.”
That is an interesting thought. We’re talking about growing to maturity – I wonder how much, as we’ve struggled in the flesh, a sense of entitlement has hindered us from indeed knowing Christ…
Listen to the rest of this sermon here:
Neil Ward, Foothills Church of Christ, Sunday 17 September 2017