The longer I live on this Big Blue Marble, the more I see how common our responses are. And pretty universally, there’s one word out there that can stir up the reaction hornet’s nest unlike any other—“NO.” From our earliest moments, we will not accept the word “no.” We won’t accept it from anyone – not parents, siblings, friends or even God. Sure we may appear to bow, but what I find is that internal heels are dug in no matter how sweet the compliant face.
Simply put, NO is the most offensive curse word in the English language. And it’s what stands between happy, smiley people and fiends. Just allow a NO to rise up against something we feel entitled to and oh, hell rises up to meet it. If I feel I really need something or want something badly and you stand opposed to it, I pity you because you’re about to reap the whirlwind. Now, I’m talking about the unspiritual man here. The spiritual man has been schooled in the reality of NO. But the unregenerate man is a cluster of demands. “I will have this!” So if you find yourself bucking more than bowing, it might be time to have a heart-to-heart with God.
So how does this play out in the wild? Well, as I said, it starts very early. Internally we make many contracts. Though they may be unsigned by another party, we make them nonetheless. We act as enforcer, too. We come into this world with a prescribed set of demands. We feel they should be met, and actually, we demand that as well. I speak on this subject as one who used to be well versed in the art of demanding. And where my requirements were left unmet, I worked to see them satisfied. I’m entitled to my contract being fulfilled, right? Good luck!
Now, some of our demands may seem natural. Love, for instance. Every child expects love, but not every child is shown love. How could this be an illegitimate demand…it’s my due, right? Not exactly! And unmet natural desires feel like abuse. If I feel abused, whether in reality or by perception, I will likely suffer from entitlement. Our inner accountant demands payment for our debts. Many of those whom I’ve met with unresolved childhood wounds tend to believe at their core that they deserve whatever they want without consequence. They feel their demand is as true as gospel, and therefore they have the right to it regardless of cost to others.
Oh, the humility that’s needed to bow to say, “I received from You, Lord, everything I needed, even if my deepest desires have been left wanting.” It’s truly a profound work of the Spirit. Very few actually do the intense work of surrendering to this cross. I still have to return to yield and die to things I feel I need – but that’s less today than yesterday, and even less tomorrow.
What I can tell you is that God’s yesses to us have so much more value than our unmet desires. I’ve learned that because He’s my creator, He knows my true desires and is able to fulfill them. He created me with many desires for the sole purpose of satisfying them. And they each so overshadow my gripping, grasping, gnawing demands. There are desires I have that stem from my entitlements rather than reality. They are things I feel are a necessity and would make me happy. But my experience is that God satisfies the soul so much beyond my self-prescribed course. No, that doesn’t mean I get all I want, but what it does assure is that I have everything I truly need! That’s not a settling for second or third best, but a union of my design and me! And in that I’ve found true contentment.