Wednesday, October 1, 2014
"I deserve better than this."
Have you ever heard anyone say that? How about this one.
"He got what he deserved."
Companies like McDonald's think that we deserve something. Do you remember their slogan from the 80's? "You deserve a break today." We do? Do we really deserve a break? And from what? Do we really deserve all the things we think we do?
Some people think that we humans deserve to be happy. Others are quite sure that God Himself wants us to be happy, no matter what we do. "Hey, if it feels good, do it!" Is that right? Is that true?
What if killing another human being makes us feel good? If it feels good God would want us to do it, right? Is there such a thing as right or wrong? Are there moral absolutes? Who determines the penalties? Who determines what truth is? What do we really deserve?
I entered the word "deserve" in the search engine in my on-line Bible (ESV version). I found two basic uses for the word "deserve."
The first was about receiving payment for our labor. We deserve our wages. That makes sense. It's the American way! We earned something by performing a service for someone. We have a right to be paid for it. We deserve it.
The second use of the word deserve has to do with our sins. We have earned our payment there as well. However, according to Romans 6:23, "the wages of sin is death." Everyone of us deserves death. Nice. Where is the happiness we thought God wanted us to have?
So does that mean we humans don't deserve to be happy? Yes, I'm afraid it does. Happiness is situation dependent. Happiness is always fleeting and depends on many emotional variables.
So, if we deserve death and God is just and righteous in handing out exactly what we deserve, what possible hope for happiness can we have? Let me introduce you to a different and a better feeling than just plain old happiness . . .
Joy is the feeling we get when, although we are deserving of death for the things we have done or left undone, Jesus paid the price for our sins with His death on the cross. He took the penalty that WE deserved. And He willingly paid that price because He loved us.
"Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13
The joy that we feel when we come to realize just what Jesus did for us makes us incredibly humble. Our sins caused the death of God's only son! Where is the joy in that you might ask, and rightly so. The joy came on the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead. He died so that we might live (1 Thessalonians 5:10).
There is great joy to be found in Christ. And we don't deserve any of it. It is a free gift, available to anyone willing to surrender themselves and become a child of God.
The choice is ours. We can live like the world wants us to - feeling that we deserve this and that we are owed that. Or we can surrender our hearts to Jesus and find joy that last until the end of time. Easy choice if you ask me.