I did it again…I fell into the snare of “self entitlement” and I didn’t even realize it until God showed me what I looked like through my little girl.
My 4-year-old daughter and I went on a ‘date’ but the excitement was crushed by her discontented and ungrateful spirit fueled by her attitude of self entitlement. She felt she was ‘entitled’ to have many things I could not give her and she had to be disciplined.
When we came home I reflected on her behavior realizing she does not have the Holy Spirit in her to help to her obey, all the more reason I need God’s wisdom and discernment on how to discipline and train her. Knowing my Father uses all things to sanctify me, to conform me to the image of my Savior Jesus Christ I asked God, “What are you trying to teach me through my daughter? I don’t whine and complain like that…do I?” Then my Father through the conviction of the Holy Spirit shows me:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)
The other day when my husband went back to work I had an ‘opportunity’ to serve God by being my husband’s helpmate serving him in love. I stayed in bed. The next day God asked me to get up again—again I stayed in bed. For one whole week God asks me and I disobeyed. I chose to sleep instead of serve.
The following week again God asks me to serve my husband and I begrudgingly rolled off my bed on my face and complained to God. “I am tired. My daughter got up several times last night. I have a cough, I deserve rest”…even as I write this my eyes fill with tears for talking to my Creator so disrespectfully. Who do I think I am? I am the created not the creator! I get up and I serve my husband, not in love but in obligation and with much resentment. Even though my husband had no idea, God did. God knows my thoughts and intentions and I was not pleasing to Him at all. I was being disobedient, sinful, and haughty.
I go to my room and write to God telling Him what He already knows. I tell God I can’t hear His voice and I want the intimacy I usually have with Him. I wondered how could I have this great growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ one year ago, and today this moment be a forgetful hearer? My loving God responds though James 4:6-10:
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
His living and active Word slices through my pride revealing my thoughts and intentions of the past two weeks and I fall to my face and mourn and weep. By God’s merciful grace I am sorrowful.
I ‘see’ how this happened, I chose not to “remain” or “abide” in my Jesus Christ—I went away from Him…a slow drifting tide drowning me in deep waters.
I had been exhausted because I had been staying up late doing wasteful things; my time alone with Him seemed to be shorter, I began meditating on the things of this world and not His Word. I took my eyes off of Him and put them on others, and on myself. I was disobedient and prideful doing things in my own strength, falling into the thorns and snare of “self entitlement” choking the growth of His Word that was sown each day. I needed to ditch the self entitlement attitude. I needed to humble myself under the mighty hand of God. I needed to get low and stay there.
After my confession, I receive His forgiveness and cleansing and He knows I am ready to listen and obey Him. He takes me to John 13 where Jesus Christ washes the feet of His disciples. I read and ask Him questions.
After reading the Bible I listen to a recent sermon from Pastor John Piper titled “For His sake and for your joy go low” I felt like John Piper was talking to me, in fact he even used the word ‘begrudgingly’! His preaching “just so happened” to be out of John 13 and confirmed what God had been teaching me that morning. I didn’t get to finish listening because God gave me an opportunity to serve, this time my daughter. After we eat breakfast I grab the Bible to read to my daughter when my 6-year-old son joins us. Just as I was going to tell them where we would read he interrupts,
“Mommy, can you read John 13:3…it’s good, I haven’t read it”
It didn’t hit me yet, I thought it was cute he was making up verses to read until I open and read…of course it “just so happened” to be the same place I was in alone with God…so what did God have to tell me?
“Jesus, knowing the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,” John 13:3
- Jesus knew God the Father had given Him all things
- Jesus had come forth from God: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus ‘came forth’ He was not created. I was created—Jesus was not. He is God.
- Jesus knew He was going back to God
- …got up from supper;
- …laid aside His garments;
- …and taking a towel, He girded Himself…
“..to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (v5)
He humbled Himself.
Like many times before, my loving Father used my children to show me what I looked like but also He used them to wash my feet with His Word. I am so thankful.
The humble won’t stumble because they will already be on their face fully surrendered. The days I literally humble myself and roll off the bed on my face to worship the Lord and surrender my agenda, telling Him as I told Him the first day of my walk, “I will serve you Lord, I will pick up my cross and follow you”—those are the days I hear Him. Those are the days I listen and obey Him.
The days I stand up and forget to acknowledge Him I stumble and fall. I say acknowledge Him because He is always there…as I read earlier journal entries before this fall I see God had warned me through my daily readings of His Word:
“Do not love sleep or you will become poor. Open your eyes and you will be satisfied with food.”
“…he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come forth from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19
One more thing that ‘just so happened’…the day my daughter and I were on our ‘date’ she asked to buy a book, you’ll never guess which one:
I’m so thankful to know the true living God. I’m thankful to know He speaks through His Word (the Bible), people (even little ones like my children), and circumstances and there are no such things as “just so happen” or “coincidences” because every decision is from the Lord.
Thank you Lord for washing my feet with your Word, cleansing my filthy sin and unrighteousness. Thank you God that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Help me to remain in Christ Jesus always walking according to Your Spirit. Thank you for loving me so much to refine and discipline me and bring me back to my first Love. Help me to deny myself. Die to self. Take up my cross and follow Jesus’ I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
I am praying Philippians 2:5-8 for you and I…
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
January 4th, 2012 at 4:24 pm
What a wonderful unpacking of John 13:3! When I read it after our conversation, I was still lost as to the purpose of that particular verse to show humility. But now…now, I see!
Thank you for knowing that the value in our daily walk lies not in our ability to do things right, but in our ability to surrender. Surrender lies low so that when we fall, the distance to repentance and a fresh start is very short. And very short is very good! I love you, Arcy!
January 20th, 2012 at 1:49 am
Thank you Cile 🙂 that’s well said, “Surrender lies low so that when we fall, the distance to repentance and a fresh start is very short”. I’m so thankful how God has gifted you to summarize the thoughts in my heart…just like a song writer…I love you my friend!
January 4th, 2012 at 5:48 pm
thank you Arcy.
January 20th, 2012 at 1:51 am
Thank you Mindy!! I’m thankful to know you and have always appreciated your willingness to share your heart with me… 🙂
June 23rd, 2012 at 7:41 pm
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