When I was 18 a friend of mine began to talk to me about Jesus and to be honest it was really annoying. I saw Jesus as a crutch for people who couldn’t make it in life. A cosmic kill-joy. A list of rules and there was nothing about Jesus that created any curiosity or interests. My only exposure to Jesus or church were the people who came on television and asked me to put my hand on the TV screen and they would say that tingly sensation you feel is the Holy Spirit. I remembered thinking, “That’s just static from the TV!”
However, every time I was with my friend he would talk to me about Jesus. Who He was, what He did, what He claimed and honestly I would just make fun of Him and would ask him over and over why, why, why, would anyone follow Jesus, but one night when I was by myself, this might creep some of you out, but the Holy Spirit just asked me, “Why would you not?” Why would you not follow Jesus? What if? What if there was something to this Jesus? What if His claims were true? What if He was real? What if. That night I remembered just telling Jesus I believed. I didn’t understand it, I didn’t know what I was really doing, but I believed.
For the next 10 years I began to explore what it meant to believe in Jesus and it was exciting, new, fresh, and Jesus started to work on my heart, learn the Bible, deal with baggage, grow spiritually, but over time something very sneaky began to creep into my heart and mind and it was a feeling of spiritual entitlement. I was going to church, leading Bible studies, praying, and my life was completely different internally and externally and over 10 years I started to look at what was happening and even though I knew this transformation had nothing to do with me I started to feel impressed with myself. I was doing all these different things and over time thoughts began to creep into my mind and heart that Jesus is probably thinking, “I got me a good one.” I started to have, on this hidden level, these feelings that if I did these certain things for Jesus that on some level He owed me and spiritual entitlement began to creep into my heart and mind.
We see this attitude of entitlement in our culture today when we tell our children “no” and they look at us like it was the most offensive thing they have heard, we see it in the workplace when co-workers start thinking, “this company should be thankful they have me as an employee.” Probably best seen in American Idol when a contestant doesn’t get a ticket to Hollywood and they simply cannot accept the verdict that they have no talent and are outraged that the stupid judges did not see how wonderful they were. They have been told they were special their whole life and now someone tells them no and they don’t know how to process it. They respond in anger, tears, and frustration. In the same way spiritual entitlement leads us to a place where we expect Jesus to do what we want Him to do.
If we are not careful, those same feelings, those same frustrations can creep into our hearts and mind in our relationship with Jesus and we will slowly slide into spiritual entitlement.