Last Friday my wife and I were sitting in the LAX airport waiting to get on a flight back from our California vacation. We had purchased standby tickets for the flight, which saved us a good amount of money. The only issue with standby tickets is that you always run the risk of not getting on a flight depending on how full that particular flight is. Our flight was a red-eye flight and so we had bought the tickets weeks prior thinking that there should be plenty of seats available because no one really likes flying through the night. However, we underestimated the amount of people who were on spring beak and were taking this flight.
As we sat waiting to be called up to get our tickets, I felt anxiety that we may not get on the flight. This would have lead to a long night of getting back through the craziness of LAX, trying to find a hotel room at midnight, and getting on a flight hopefully the next day. In other words, this option wouldn’t be ideal. We were praying that the Lord would help us to get on the flight. Finally, the ticketing agent called Mindee up and we got our tickets confirming that we would be on the plane headed home. This was a moment of rejoicing! After a long day of not knowing, we were excited to be able to head home. I thanked God for His provision and we boarded the plane.
Once we got on the plane I noticed that the luggage space above my seat was full and I would have to move back a couple rows to find space for my carry on. Dissatisfied, I found an open space a few rows back and put my luggage there. I then found my seat, which at first I thought was great and then minutes later I began to feel a little claustrophobic and uncomfortable. It also didn’t help that the person behind me kept pushing on my seat. I started to grumble to myself about it. After we took off, I started to get really thirsty. Frustrated, I thought to myself, “Where is the beverage cart?” It was at this moment that I realized how discontent I was being. I had gone from not knowing if I would be on the flight to all this feeling of entitlement in just an hour. I was just saved from not having to go through everything I would have had to go through had we not been allowed on the flight to grumbling and wondering about when I would get my ginger-ale. I felt the Spirit convict me and I repented immediately. I had so quickly forgotten how joyful I felt just to be on the flight.
I think this relates to many of us as Christians. Maybe you have been a Christian for many years or maybe you are newer to the faith. Either way, we need to guard ourselves against feelings of entitlement and boredom. After walking with Jesus for awhile, I have seen some Christians start to feel entitled as if God should be doing more for them. They look for other avenues of how God can serve them and bless them. When their prayers are not answered the way they want, they grumble. Maybe this is you right now.
I have also witnessed Christians become bored with Jesus as if he is just another thing in their busy lives. The gospel becomes less and less glorious to them as time goes on. Some of you may be feeling that way right now. It’s in these times that we need to remind ourselves, or have others help to remind us, of the beauty that is the good news of Jesus. We need to be reminded of back when we first believed in this glorious truth and held it so dear and precious to ourselves. We need to be reminded of how thankful we were just to hear this good news. Think back to when that was for you? I’m sure you were rejoicing, because when the Holy Spirit illuminates the glory of the death and resurrection of Jesus for you, there is no other response.
I pray that we would not feel entitled as if God owes us something more. Family, we already obtain infinitely more than we ever deserved from God. I pray that we would not get bored with the gospel. Would we not sigh and say “I know this already” when we hear it preached or taught. Rather, I pray we would revel in the fact that God chose us to be His children and that we are saved from our sin.
Brothers and sisters, entitlement and boredom can be a deadly foe to our spiritual growth. Would we not fall into these. Rather by God’s help, would we be like a guy who rejoices in the simple fact that he doesn’t have to be left where he is, but gets to be included on the flight that’s headed home.
If you’ve been reading along in this little series—congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of the first week. As a reward to both of us, you the reader, and myself as the writer, I’ve decided to make Sundays a “Grace Day.”
Day Five: Be Attentive To Wisdom
While it is hard to nail down a precise figure (I looked at a number of studies), one large study pulling together a number of other studies reports: “To conclude, a close analysis of [the] Infidelity rate and its growth pattern clearly indicates that nearly one half of all married men and women are involved in extramarital affairs.”
Day Four: Orienteering
Many who know me are quite aware that I am indoorsy. It’s not that I don’t enjoy going for a run, a bike ride, or even a hike through the woods or in the mountains. It’s just that I don’t want to sleep out there. I believe God inspired us to create hotels and houses for a very good reason: to return to, enjoy, and sleep in. It’s a very important part of what separates us from the animals.
Day Three: A Heart of Wisdom
When we baptize someone at our church, we always remind our people that baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. This picture of being lowered fully into the water and rising up again that happens on the outside for all to see, is a window into the soul of the baptized, revealing a heart cleansed, purified, and surrendered to Jesus, and thus saved, transformed, and made a part of the family.
Day Two: Our God Will Supply
It’s important we pause for a moment and look at the simple structure of Solomon’s book of Proverbs. The first nine chapters are extended descriptions of wisdom, largely in story form with instructions from a parent to a child, using at times images of “Lady Wisdom” and “Woman Folly.” They are there to explain two pathways, one that leads to a wise and good life, and one that leads to destruction. And these first nine chapters are there to help us see why we should care about chapters ten through thirty-one, which contain all the individual sayings of wisdom for which the book is famous.
Day One: The Fear of Yahweh
The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, English Standard Version) I argued in yesterday’s post how God has hardwired wisdom into all of creation, and that wisdom is an applied skill in working with the grain of his design, and not against it, so that we may have a good life. An immediate question arises: if this is true, wouldn’t that mean a good life is available to all who recognize and pursue this, whether or not they believe in God?
Yesterday I preached the twenty-sixth sermon in The Whole Story sermon series, on the book of Proverbs. One of the main points of the sermon—because it is one of the main points of the book of Proverbs—is how wisdom is this thing that helps you see the way the world truly is, the way it works, so that you can live well inside of it. This is because wisdom is expertise and competence, it is applied skill, seen in the ways the Bible uses the word for craftsmen (Exodus 35:31), goldsmiths (Jeremiah 10:9), and sailors (Psalm 107:27).
This last Sunday, we made our way back into our Whole Story sermon series after a powerful four weeks taking a look at how we can help people ‘move to the right’, out of and away from the kingdom of darkness, and into the kingdom of the beloved Son. The sermon also served the purpose of kicking off our entry into the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament, with the story of Job as our first step in that journey.