In the inaugural episode, Continue Reading…
Archives For entitlement
Suffering is one of the most common reasons people doubt God.
If God is so loving, how can such bad things happen?
Trite statements by Christians only make this worse:
Something good will come out this, just wait.
God has a purpose for everything.
Something good will come out of rape, child abuse, or the premature death of a loved one…
As if God were committing atrocities so we’d learn a lesson later.
I want to propose that most people live with the expectation that this world is heaven, so when they discover (through observing or experiencing suffering) that it isn’t, they are devastated. Specifically, their idea of God is devastated.
This is a very complicated topic because we are indeed eternal beings, yet we do not live in an eternal world.
As eternal beings, we long for heaven. Not just heaven as the place or destination, but a state of being without suffering, pain, disease, and death. This is, in fact, what we were created for so it makes perfect sense we’d still be hardwired for this. What we long for is a world without the effects of sin, while we live in the midst of a world riddled by these effects.
Yes I said it: sarcasm, for the most part, is not a good thing. It builds environments of pride (even arrogance) and is a killer of vulnerability and transparency. It also kills encouragement. Check out this short post I did: 4 Indications that your Sarcasm Needs to be Checked.
2. Quit porn
This one should be a no-brainer, but as many know, it’s much easier said than done. Get Covenant Eyes on your phones, tablets, and computers. Check out what is by far the most clicked article on my blog: Reasons to Stop Looking at Pornography…and how to do it.
3. Spend 30 minutes a day with Jesus
I hate giving “guarantees” when it comes to people’s walk with God, but if there’s anything I can give that’s as close to a guarantee as possible, it would be this. Spend 30 intentional minutes a day with Jesus and it will transform your life. I’ve been doing this since July and it has been the single-most spiritual transformative thing I have ever done. Imagine you have 48 units of anything. 48 eggs. 48 Snicker bars. 48 dollars. Can you give Jesus one? You give enough to Netflix and the news and to football, yes you can give one of these daily 30 minute portions to spending intentional time with Jesus. This is not 30 minutes of Bible reading–the problem with that is it’s all cognitive, just grinding away the mental gears. Plus that sort of mindset is typically quite legalistic as well…I should do this, I ought to do this–No. It’s also not Santa Clause style prayer requests…Jesus, give me this, Jesus give me that. No, what this is is relational. It is spending time in God’s presence. It is taking the spiritual truths of Scripture (God is holy, you are not, but God is merciful to you!) and laying them before God–asking him if they are really true–asking him to make them second nature to you–asking him to break you with his holiness (and your depravity) and then to rebuild you in his mercy and your new identity in Christ. It is engaging God with your heart, not simply with your mind. There is a lot to this but if you want to go in this journey, I highly recommend the book Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. Last point, you will not do this if you aren’t in covenant with other people doing this. Being in covenant is much more than accountability. Accountability won’t work, you need something on the line for the many days you will not feel like doing this. Try this: find at least one other person who wants to go on this 30-minutes-a-day journey with Jesus as well and commit to checking in with each other every 7 days. Make it your goal to do this 5 days out of a week at minimum. Make a covenant with this other person(s) that whoever doesn’t reach their 5 day per week goal has to pay $100 to the other person(s). This will motivate you on the days you are getting lazy! Try this arrangement in covenant for 60 days and by then, you should have a firmly established rhythm in place. Ground rules: You must be alone (not reading in bed next to your spouse, not having your kids playing in the room while you read). This is solitude time with God. Often this means you need to get up earlier than anyone else in your house. Light a candle. This brings focus and intentionality to your time. Allow the candle to be a symbol of God’s tangible presence, like you are spending time with a friend–which you are!
4. Fix your marriage by fixing your perspective
Make it your resolution to stop trying to fix your spouse. Instead, repent of your entitlement and allow God to completely transform your perspective. Do you truly believe God is holy and that you aren’t? Do you truly believe you deserve to be separated from God for eternity (a.k.a. hell) and without the intervention of Jesus’ mercy, that’s where you would be in this moment. If you believe these things, then live in them (and stop asking God to give you what you deserve!). It will change you. It will change your marriage. It will change everything. Read more in the recent article I wrote for Covenant Eyes’ blog: How to Love Your Spouse When They Don’t Love You Back.
In the aftermath of this morning’s Christmas sermon and a week of getting and giving Christmas presents, I realized most of us don’t know what a gift is. Since most of me and my extended family’s gift-giving money goes toward our collective six kids, all age 5 and under, this year we decided to draw names for the adults. You get one name and buy them a small gift, rather than having to buy for all the adults. I don’t know if you have an elf at your family gift exchange, but we always have an elf at ours. The elf is the person sitting nearest the tree who has the duty of reading the tags on presents and delivering them to the proper recipients. I was the the elf this year.
Not uncommon for me, I started making various jokes. One of them was when I realized there were additional gifts under the tree for adults, outside of the one-gift-per-adult allotment from the name drawing. For example, my mom drew my brother Pete’s name, but got him 3 gifts. I of course made sure everyone knew the additional gifts were because she loves him more than the rest of us, getting him two gifts from the goodness of her heart, outside of the one obligatory gift she had to get him from the drawing (she defended herself by saying she just got good deals and still kept everything under our set expense amount).
My brother Pete also bought gifts for adults outside of the person he drew a name for. One of these gifts was a box for me. I told everyone this was a gift from the goodness of Pete’s heart, whereas his name-drawn gift was simply obligatory. All of the name-drawn gifts were obligatory.
The gift he got me from the goodness of his heart was a yellow glow-in-the-dark piece of rubber dog poop. True story.
(What was really funny was listening to the kids fight over who got to play with “the poop.” “No, it’s my turn to play with the poop…” and so on.) Continue Reading…
I recently had an article published on Covenant Eyes’ blog: “Porn is not your Problem. Entitlement is.” Please check it out and re-share if it’s helpful for you. Please re-share the Covenant Eyes link, not this atacrossroads.net link. It’s a helpful article for those seeking freedom from porn, but also for marriage in general.