Spiritual Director · August 16, 2017

Devote #84

At any cost

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you’d do anything to get it, even though you knew it was wrong or hurtful? As you think about it, try doing a little analysis as to why you followed through on it and you’ll probably come to the same conclusion I have… I deserved it.

Have you ever heard those word before? “I can do whatever I want!” Or “I’m entitled to it.” Or “You can’t tell me what to do, I have rights, you know.” Maybe you even heard those words, or words similar, coming out of your own mouth.

It’s not all that uncommon for the human race to have a problem with feeling they deserve special privileges.

It’s been happening since the beginning of time. Think about it.

It’s how Satan tricked Eve into believing that she deserved to be like God.

I thought of that today as I read about one of the kings of Judah. His name was Uzziah. He displayed the same character as Eve. He thought he was above reproach and could do whatever he wanted to do.

The Bible tells us,

“Zechariah was Uzziah’s advisor and taught him to obey God. And so, as long as Zechariah was alive, Uzziah was faithful to God, and God made him successful.” —2 Chronicles 26:5

As a matter of fact, he was a close second in wealth and fame to his great, great, great, great, great, great (and maybe a few more) grandfather, Solomon. But all of that changed. Zechariah must have died and was no longer advising Uzziah, or Uzziah just stopped listening because read this,

“Uzziah became proud of his power, and this led to his downfall. One day, Uzziah disobeyed the LORD his God by going into the temple and burning incense as an offering to Him.” — 2 Chronicles 26:16

That was a job only the priest could do. They tried to stop King Uzziah, but he wouldn’t listen because he thought he could do whatever he wanted to do. When the priest tried to stop him, he got mad and when he wouldn’t stop what he was doing, leprosy broke out on his forehead. It was then, and only then, the priest forced King Uzziah out of the temple. And we read,

“Uzziah had leprosy the rest of his life.” —2 Chronicles 26:21

If we’re honest we’ll admit there are many times we think we’re entitled to something. We think that because of who we are… our position… our title… our name… we deserve certain treatment or certain rewards.

In the times in which we live, we refer to that as entitlement, but it’s actually presumption, which the dictionary defines as “unwarrantable, unbecoming, or impertinent boldness.”

Truth be told, we don’t deserve anything. It’s only when we let our pride and sense of self-importance surface that we think we deserve special treatment and that has a new name: covetousness. Which means, wanting something we shouldn’t have because it’s not ours.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Don’t let your pride swell your head. Humbly come before your God and seek His face.

Forgive me for the times I believe I’m entitled to anything. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.