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Do YOU Have a Spirit of Entitlement?

spirit of entitlement

A spirit of entitlement is growing like stage four cancer these days. One Christian writer in her late 20s writes, “My generation is notorious for our attitudes of entitlement. We think we deserve more than we do, and when we don’t get it, our entitlement siren starts blaring. And when it does, we often act irrationally—in a way that looks foolish from the outside.”[i]

Entitlement is the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. It is the feeling that you have the right to do or have what you want without having to work for it. Entitlement is rampant in the society but it is also creeping into the church as the consumer culture infects the minds and hearts of everyday Christ-followers.

Do I Have a Spirit of Entitlement?

A spirit of entitlement is easy to recognize in others but often hard to identify in ourselves. Here are a few diagnostic questions to help:

  • Do I often feel discontent?
  • Do I feel envy or resentment over the blessings others seem to have?
  • Am I disappointed with life?
  • Do I doubt God’s faithful provision for me?
  • Do I often unfavorably compare myself and my situation with that of others?

Jerry Bridges notes that an attitude of entitlement prompts us to “grumble about blessings not received instead of being grateful for those we have received.” [ii]

Truths About Entitlement

Pride is the bedfellow of entitlement – “Not I but Christ” is seldom the passion of an entitled Christian. Entitlement places self at the center of one’s universe. Relationships, circumstances and engagement with life are usually interpreted with self-focused expectations as the primary point of reference.

Grace and mercy are the antidote for entitlement – When we truly cherish the gospel, we are humbled and overwhelmed daily by God’s undeserved favor and our deserved judgement forgiven at the cross by the amazing love of God in Christ. We are continually grateful for grace that has saved, strengthened, sustained and sanctified us. Grateful Christians know that the only thing they merit is hell and that the “Fount of Every Blessing” has lavished them with countless undeserved gifts.

I’ve observed that legalists often have an entitlement problem, as they tend to believe that keeping the rules or having some special “experience” earns them a superior position of blessing before God and others. This is a contradiction of grace.

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As a lead pastor for nearly three decades, Daniel Henderson helped several congregations experience transformation and renewal through an extraordinary commitment to prayer. Daniel now serves as founder and president of Strategic Renewal and is the national director for The 6.4 Fellowship. As a “pastor to pastors,“ he leads renewal experiences in local churches, speaks in a variety of leadership conferences, and coaches pastors across North America and beyond. Daniel is the author of over a dozen books, including, Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church Through Prayer and the Ministry of The Word, Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face, Transforming Presence: How The Holy Spirit Changes Everything - From The Inside Out, and Glorious Finish: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize of Eternity in a Time of Pastoral Failings.