Louis and I drove under a Subway sign that read, “You deserve a healthy sandwich.”
“I don’t know about that,” I said. “Man, I deserve hell. I’m getting heaven though! A healthy sandwich would be nice, I guess.”
I know it’s just a sign, but I’m the kind of nut who thinks about advertising strategies. I’ve seen this line a lot lately. My skin deserves this cream, my kids deserve that food, I deserve a break, and so on.
The “I deserve” message is subtle and soul-sucking. It’s like a mosquito that injects an anesthetic of promise, slurps out contentment, and leaves a distracting itch of want that won’t go away.
When it comes buzzing in your ear, hit that nasty bugger before it has a chance to take hold. Here’s my swatter:
- Remember exactly what I deserve.
I have total confidence that I earned a destiny of being separated from God for eternity. I am not one that would be defended in the afterlife because I “just went through some rough patches, but had a good heart” or other such nonsense. Nope. This fella was rotten to the core and had plenty to show for it.
- Remember what I already have.
When I get fresh eyes for the things around me, such as my warm house, abundant clean water, temperature-controlled minivan with comfy seats, incredible wife, great kids, full-time job, closet full of clothes, and stocked pantry, it makes the idea that I deserve more seem pretty silly. My life is full of wonderful luxuries.
- “Think of all the wonderful things [God] has done for you.” – 1 Sam 12:24 (NLT)
That’s the last piece of advice Samuel gave to Israel before granting their grievous request for a king, a decision that rejected God Himself as their ruler. He follows it up with, “But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.” Whoa. This is no cheeky Christian bookmark quotable.
Gratitude is how I keep from being swept away.
I have love and mercy through God’s unearned favor. My life is grace piled upon grace, and what I’ve got in Jesus is way beyond what I could ask or imagine. Thwap! Take that, nasty little pest.