Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thoughts about What We Want and What We Deserve

A man visited our church a few times and then I saw him a few other places, and I would ask him the standard: "How ya doin'?" He answered, "Better than I deserve." The normal reply: "Good!" He remembered that no man is good, although I believe that a justified person can do good (proof text: Rom. 7:21). But "better than I deserve" is a good answer. And I've been thinking about these two concepts in contrast: What I want and what I deserve.

There's a lot we want. Burger King said, "Have it your way!" Of course, my way was free, but I didn't deserve that. I deserved to pay for my Whopper. What we want often clashes with what we deserve. I regularly ask people whether they deserve Hell. They normally say "no." Is that true? Of course not. James 2:10 and Galatians 3:6 say that one sin is enough to keep anyone from eternity in the presence of God (cf. Habakkuk 1:13). So that's what I deserve. I might want Heaven, but I deserve Hell. And I deserve Hell right now. Because I have sinned.

I think that we need to think more about what we deserve. We'd be happier, don't you think? Lot's of bad things happen to people and they think they deserve differently. I feel bad, very bad when other people have hard times. I might even feel worse sometimes when I go through difficult ones. But no, we really don't deserve better times; we deserve worse. We haven't merited any special consideration from God. It doesn't work that way. David wrote that at our best state we are altogether vanity. Paul said that his best was dung. Pilate tried to wash his hands of Jesus' death, but we can't scrub away our sins. We can't get rid of sins through our works. Titus 3:5 says it's not by works of righteousness that we have done. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.

This is a sin-cursed world groaning for its day of redemption. The sins have cursed this world with disease, devastation, difficulties, destruction, discouragement, and death. It hits some harder than others, but hits everyone ultimately without the mercy of God. We deserve it. We deserve much worse. We can't really be happy until we live with a consciousness of what we deserve. When we do, we will understand how good we really have it. God has given us the opportunity to be saved. And then every time we think of what we should be getting, we can smile and exult in what we have gotten instead. As bad as it is, it could have been way, way worse.

You might want more. More praise, better positions, better relationships, nicer things, greater belongings, bigger houses, more money, and even more. I can want more. I'm can be discontent. I still struggle against this every day. But I want to exult in God's mercy, in His grace, and His love. He spares us. He withholds wrath. He postpones judgment. And then He saves to the uttermost. I want Him to know I'm thankful for that by living for Him and loving Him and leading others to the same. When I think about what I deserve, that's what I want.


Cathy McNabb said...

This blog made me think of the chorus to this Hymn

"It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One gliimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ"

God's not going to out allow anything in our path, that He isn't going to help us through.
I deserve hell, we all do, anything we gain above hell is His grace, and His grace alone.

Anonymous said...

William Arthur Ward wrote: " We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive"....Simply stated!


Terry McGovern said...

Amen Bro! Good Post. To often we act like spoiled Christians. We loose sight of what we actually desreve, and how wonderful the grace of God is.

MattBrasel said...

Well put Brother. It is amazing how we are usually discontent the most when God has blessed us with abundance. After all as believers we only have eternal security, a home in Heaven for eternity, Gods perfect Word and a few other things.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor for this post and the one on God´s mercy. Presently, it seems like everything is about what we want and deserve because we have worked for that (like the things that you mentioned in this post) but we easily forget Who gives us the strength, air, health, life, etc to enjoy His creation. It come to my mind Revelation 4:4 that says that everything was created for HIS PLEASURE not for our pleasure.