You are a serial killer. The memories of your deeds haunt you when you try to sleep at night. You’ve been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. You are spending the remaining months of your life in solitary confinement, living in a pitch-black cell the size of a small closet. A jailer tosses stale bread to you once a day as you await your day to die. You sleep on a cold cement floor and go to the bathroom in a hole.
You are getting what you deserve, and justice is being served.
After weeks without seeing another human face or even a beam of light, your prison door opens and light from the hallway’s fluorescent bulbs blasts into your dungeon. Your eyes take a moment to adjust as you strain to make out the figure standing in your door- way. It’s a familiar face. It’s the judge from your trial.
This innocent, holy judge named Jesus Christ extends his hand to you. He tells you he will take your punishment. He is the judge, the only one in authority who can pull this off. He will die in your place. He will forgive all the crimes you’ve committed. You can walk away a free man.
You know you don’t deserve this amazing offer, but you can’t help but accept it.
The guards lead you to the prison entrance and release you. You have been pardoned.
The sun shines down on you as you take your first breath of crisp air as a free man. A long, deep breath.
You ponder the depth of love Jesus showed you by paying for your freedom with his life. You can taste it. You didn’t deserve freedom, and Jesus didn’t deserve death.
Jesus rises from the dead and transforms your relationship with God from judge and guilty sinner to Father and beloved son. You are a new creation resurrected to new life in Christ.
How do you feel?
More important, how will you live?
What will you appreciate?
What will you feel entitled to?
The truth is, learning to live as pardoned rather than entitled revolutionizes our faith, our prayers, and our lives as married or single men. When you’ve been pardoned the way this hypothetical prisoner was from his dark cell into a new life of Christ-empowered freedom, you’ll never feel entitled again. It will all be consumed by relief and gratitude.
The journey we are on in this book is not about how you can manipulate your wife to do what will make you happy. Nor is it about learning to perform the act of goodness that magically will make God transform your marriage into a utopia.
Have you ever thought any of the following things?
I married the wrong person.
I should have married _____.
I should have pursued _____.
Why isn’t my wife more like _____?
My wife isn’t as pretty as _____.
Or my wife isn’t as _____ as _____.
I bet I could have gotten or could get _____.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m a 7. My wife is a 7. That guy is a 5, and he’s with a 9. You’re telling me I could’ve married a 9?
I got married too young.
I got married for the wrong reasons.
My wife is a different person than the woman I dated. My wife and I have nothing in common.
My wife won’t speak my love language.
My wife won’t meet my needs.
My wife won’t fulfill me sexually.
My wife won’t give me recreational companionship. My wife isn’t staying physically attractive for me.
My wife isn’t providing domestic support for me.
My wife doesn’t admire me.1 (As other women do!)
Having ever indulged in any of these thoughts (and if you haven’t, you’re either lying or you’ve been married only a week) is an indication of entitlement.
This journey is about realizing we don’t deserve anything. As we live pardoned, we quit seeing who our wives aren’t and who some other woman is. Instead, we start seeing our wives as the complete women they are, the blessings they are, and the undeserved gifts of mercy they are.
Are you living entitled or pardoned?
- This and the previous four in the list are a man’s five needs, according to Willard Harley’s His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2011).
Excerpted with permission from Beyond the Battle by Noah Filipiak, copyright Noah Filipiak.
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It’s convicting to realize how the entitled world we live in seeps into our own thinking and even into our faith without even realizing it. Asking the question, “Am I living entitled?” is so important! Jesus paid the supreme price for us, not so we could live entitled identities, but submitted, humble ones knowing who we are in Him. Come share your thoughts on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily