Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness…”
Our world has a deep belief in entitlement. Somehow over the years we have come to the conclusion that everyone has a right to whatever they want. It is my right to think what I want, believe what I want, express what I want, and obtain what I want. No one may stand in the way and deny me my rights. While this may seem enticing, it is not healthy or possible.
First of all, one person’s desires may stand in the way of someone else’s receiving their desires. For example, there may only be one lead in a theatre production. A talented actor’s getting the spot necessarily leaves another, who might want the part just as badly, to take a lesser role. This decision does not downplay anyone’s importance as a person, but makes a distinction based on talent, role casting, or maybe even just hard work. Also, the attitude of believing ourselves entitled to certain things necessarily exalts us above everyone else. Love and consideration of others is lost when we strive for this place of honor.
In the church today there are some who also have an attitude of entitlement. We like to focus on God’s grace and His free gift of forgiveness and salvation. It is true that God is not looking for perfect people. He came to save the sick and the lost. We are saved by God’s grace and not by works, but sometimes at this point a misunderstanding occurs and the truth becomes garbled.
There are many who believe that they can continue to live in their old lifestyle – the one they lived before they accepted Christ. The habits and disciplines of faith that have strengthened many ancient saints in the past are now considered “legalism.” The prevailing attitude is that no one can tell me how to live my life because I am entitled to all God’s blessings based on my decision to pray a prayer.
Paul reminds us that when a person has received the knowledge of God’s truth it will necessarily lead to godliness. We are not entitled to come to our own understanding of truth, as our world would like to believe. A truly saved person will begin to desire what God desires. He will want to know his heavenly Father better, and the disciplines that have guided many in the past will become avenues for seeking Him and His will. Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance will deepen our understanding of God’s principles, encourage growth in godliness, and spur us on to love, good works, and greater faith. Slowly, but surely, God will change the way we think and live as we give up the entitlement to make our own decisions and give Him the control over everything in our lives.
In our search to know God better we may also need to relinquish certain things. While anything sinful must certainly be put behind us, other activities might also need to be curtailed. While it may not be wrong to watch TV, someone addicted to this form of entertainment might need to remove it from his or her life in order to put God first. This is not “legalism,” but wisdom.
We are not entitled to anything in this life. Everything we have is a gift from God and even His children’s blessings are obtained through obedience to His word. We are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price – the precious blood of Jesus. Seek Him and choose to obey His truth. You will find that it will surely lead to godliness.