Monday, July 31, 2006
Have you ever heard anyone say, "I don't deserve this!!" Or better yet, have you ever heard yourself saying “I don’t deserve this”? And you may be right, there may be times in our lives that we were treated wrongly, gone through situations that weren’t fair, that weren’t right.
We expect life to be easy, to be fair; and it doesn’t always work out that way. In 1970, there was a song sung by Lynn Anderson – “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.”
When we look around, we see people who are suffering for their wrong doings, and we may think that the thing they suffer from is what they deserve. For example, it is hard to think that a murderer does not deserve to spend time in jail. The guy at work who is always late and does a bad job probably deserves to lose his job.
deserve (verb) - To acquire as a result of one's behavior or effort: earn, gain, get, merit, win. To be worthy of; merit.
Psalm 28:4 - Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve.
We understand when it is obvious that “bad” people suffer for their actions.
BUT I DON’T DESERVE THIS - That is really quite a statement and it may be ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
The Bible is absolutely FULL of examples of people who did mot DESERVE what happened to them.
Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers; sold as a slave in chains; thrown into jail, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and forgotten about for years after he helped the King. Did he deserve this? The answer is very easy “NO.” Genesis 39:2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph.”
Daniel was shipped off to a foreign country, thrown into a lion's den, and hated by those that he worked with while he served the King. Did he deserve this? Again, “NO.” But look at the result when he was delivered from the circumstance that he “Did Not Deserve.” Daniel 6:26 - I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end.
John the Baptist was beheaded. Did he deserve this? Again, “NO.” Luke 7:28 – “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
Paul was cast into jail, ship wrecked, stoned, and beaten with rods. Did he deserve this? Again, “NO,” Colossians 1:24 - “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”
Our ultimate example: Did Jesus deserve to be beaten, whipped, stripped and then hung on a cross? NO, NO, NO! Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured.”
None of these men DESERVED (earned) the treatment that they received; yet, even as great men of God, it happened.
“The undeserved circumstances, events, and treatment we face will either defeat us or develop us more into the likeness of Christ, depending on how we respond.”
“I have my rights” – you are absolutely correct.
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVES – YOU ARE DEAD to this world, YOU ARE DEAD to the way the world conducts itself. You are alive in CHRIST. You have rights, every single thing that the WORD of GOD tells us are our rights.
We have a different set of RIGHTS. Luke 6:27 – “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.”
And it goes on to list some of our other RIGHTS as a Christian. We are told in Romans 12 that we are NOT to conform to this world. We are to be a different people. How different?
Galatians 5:22 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.”
It is really all about having the right perspective and the right attitude.
I have slowly been reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – A woman watched her child scalped and then beheaded. Then they took her, whipped her, removing patches of skin. Then when she would still not deny Christ, they heated an iron chair till it was red hot, sat her in it; and she praised God while she cooked.
Thanking and praising God – that is quite a testimony!
Stephen in Acts 7:59 – “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
If we can keep a right attitude, we will not seek revenge on people.
Hebrews 10:30 – “For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people."
I DON’T DESERVE THIS –
Think about this -- Do We Deserve Salvation?
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Do we deserve to be called the Children of GOD?
Do we deserve to have a relationship with Almighty God, the creator of it all?
Do we deserve the blessings that HE gives us?
Do we deserve to have HIS HOLY SPIRIT dwelling within us?
I remember thinking how UNDESERVING of all this I was. It was during a praise and worship service in 1986 while I was attending Christ For The Nations. The presence of GOD was so real; yet with 2000 people around, it was just me and HIM. I began to cry when I realized Who I had been, who I was and who HE was. I did not deserve any of what He had given me. I didn’t deserve the love that HE had given me. From that experience, I have tried to keep an attitude of thankfulness. I could have died in 1975 in a car accident where I had been pronounced dead. I was not a Christian at that time. If it weren’t for HIS mercy, where would I be today?
I pray that each of us would always remember that, and that each of us would have an experience with Almighty God that would give us a true perspective of what we deserve.
James 1:2 – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Today's devotion is written by my brother Tom.
He too is a minister, and loves to teach God's Word.
To contact Tom by E-mail: email@example.com
To contact Jim by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org