There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.- Ecclesiastes 8:14-15
I deserve to be happy. I want to feel good. I demand satisfaction.
The cry of Solomon’s heart rings loudly in this passage. It is the cry of entitlement.
Solomon struggles to understand why God allows the wicked to succeed and the righteous to suffer. In his frustration, this great mystery leads him to embrace earthly satisfaction stating in verse 15 that “…man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be merry…”
In today’s reading, we witness Solomon’s struggle with entitlement. Entitlement is the baby brother of pride. Entitlement is the belief that you deserve to be given something. Solomon believes he is entitled to judge who is wicked and who is righteous. He believes he is entitled to understand how and why God chooses who He blesses. He believes he is entitled to a sensual, pleasure-filled life.
Much of the time, entitlement hides in the believer’s heart and remains unseen in her life. However, entitlement is exposed quickly when we are faced with unmet expectations, when we compare our circumstances to others and when we are in the midst of suffering. Our thankfulness and gratitude towards God can quickly turn into demands. “Lord, I love and serve You faithfully. I deserve healing. I deserve a better job. I deserve a husband that loves me. I deserve to be taken care of. I deserve respect. I deserve to understand why this is happening to me. I deserve more.” Like Solomon, the cry of our heart can become one of entitlement. What hides beneath our demands is this subtle whisper from Satan: “God, what You have given me is not good enough. You owe me better.” If we drift too far from God, we, like Solomon, will strive to satisfy our desires on our own.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.- Colossians 3:1-4
The remedy to the believer’s struggle with entitlement is to reflect on who we are in Christ and how He sees us. When we reflect on the Good News of Jesus Christ, we remember that God owes us nothing, but blesses us with everything. When we set our hearts and our minds on things above, we resist the desire to grasp solely at earthly blessings, because God offers heavenly blessings that are far better. When we reflect on God’s desire for us, we realize that God has not called us simply to be happy, but also to be holy.
God desires for us to experience abundant lives full of His joy and peace abiding in us, no matter our circumstances. This abundance begins with Jesus Christ. As believers maintain an eternal perspective of our lives, we will trust God with our highs as well as our lows. Then, we can truly eat, drink, and be merry. We eat of the Bread of Life Who satisfies and fulfills our deepest hunger. We drink of the Living Water Who refreshes and quenches our every thirst. We are merry for God has given us every good and perfect gift in our lives.
Let’s Talk……What feelings of entitlement are you struggling with today? What is hindering you from a life of gratitude and contentment? How can we pray for you as you surrender feelings of entitlement and discontentment to God?
Terria serves on the LGG encourager and social media teams. She is a single mother of two teenage girls. Her passionate goal is to start a revolution to empower a generation of single women to grab onto God’s truth and cling to it. She loves to talk and loves to listen. She can often be tracked down in noisy hospital hallways listening to people’s stories, and sharing the lessons and love that God has poured out in her life. Despite the chaotic and messy circumstances of Terria’s life, God shows himself strong and loving. The evidence is clear – He loves hard!
Did you miss Monday’s post? View it here.