Favor Vs. Entitlement

​Paulette Reed

Living Epistles

One thing I love about growing older is how the Word of God becomes more alive to me with each and every passing day. As a living epistle, I’ve had the honor of experiencing the Scriptures in deeper and more unique ways. One verse that jumped off the page as I was reading my Bible recently was Psalm 37:25: “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

As I pondered this word in my heart, I reflected on the fact that I have never had to beg God for the necessities of life. Strong’s Concordance defines begging as “to seek, require, demand, or request.” Does that mean if someone seems to be consistently asking for money, goods, or reduced prices, they are lacking in righteousness? Does it mean they are not righteous in the way God defined it? It is something to certainly think about.

Confusion in the Camp

I am deeply concerned when I see Christians living a life that does not line up with the plumb line of God—Psalm 37:25 included. When people beg, living as entitled Christians, they are giving the devil a foothold as deception leads them into believing that a demonic spirit of entitlement is really the favor of God. But they are not the same at all! In fact, they are the complete opposite of each other.

If indeed the righteous do not beg, then why do we hear so many believers asking or begging for special treatment and favor? Why do we constantly hear the innuendoes that are in opposition to Psalm 37:25? For example, when someone is standing with a group of believers and says, “Oh dear, my back is stiff and I need a massage so badly but I just can’t afford one,” knowing that a massage therapist is in the group, is that person exuding favor or entitlement? Did that really have to be announced to the group? Would that person have said the same thing had not a massage therapist been part of the group?

Psalm 33:13 reminds us, “When the Lord looks down from heaven, He observes every human being.” God knows every sparrow that falls to the ground, He knows every hair that is upon our head, so certainly no one has to share their plight with a group of people in order to manipulate others to have mercy on them and give them something for free. It is God who supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory.

Or what about when people who use the calling on their life as their business card to achieve their needs? Someone may say, “We’re missionaries, so we’re hoping you would serve us for free.” How in the world does that glorify God? Should Christians have to “beg” a dentist to provide services for free to fix their teeth? Our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so certainly He can sell a couple of those cattle to meet our needs.

Being a Christian does not give anyone the right to pull too hard on someone’s mercy gift or compassion, demanding or manipulating them to give us something for free. In fact, pulling too hard is a sign of entitlement, not a sign of God’s favor upon our lives. These are just two of many examples I’m witnessing frequently in the Church today. Begging grieves the Holy Spirit.

There Is a Season for Everything

I understand that to everything there is a season, and a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3). So I don’t have a problem with people using government assistance or church food banks or an offering to supplement health insurance needs for a season when it is truly needed. Ultimately, however, insurance is truly our responsibility for us and our children, as we are taught in the Word to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1). I’m speaking from experience here knowing that he Lord truly is my Maker, my Husband, and my Provider.

I know there are reasons the government is looking at limiting some assistance programs to one year. I agree with some of those reasons while disagreeing with others. Perhaps this is a good place to say, “Alleluia!” because, sometimes—and I mean sometimes—assistance can give the enemy legal rights to release a spirit of entitlement on a person. And no one wants those evil hitchhikers attached to them.

Since 1 Corinthians 15:46 teaches us that things in the natural realm often take place before things in the spiritual realm, could it be that the Lord is showing us something in allowing the government to cut back assistance? Is God trying to set people free and empower them to rise up and believe what they believe—that the government truly does rest on His shoulders?  Perhaps God wants to show Himself mighty as His Kingdom has everything we need and we need everything His Kingdom has.

People who are deceived as to what’s truly the favor of God and what’s an entitlement spirit might say, “I’m living by faith.” Well, that may be true, but it’s not their faith they are living by—it is often someone else’s faith. Every time a person gets something for free, or at a reduced price, someone somewhere is paying for it. The products and services and food weren’t really free, rather someone who is paying Caesar what belongs to Caesar (Mark 12:17) just paid for those “free” services.

And where in the world does any believer get the idea that living by faith means not working? Even God works, for Genesis 2:2 tells us, “By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” And He expects hard work from us as well. One of several Scriptures teaching us to have a good work ethic is Colossians 3:23, where Paul says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Work is not a result of the fall, a curse that we are to endure while on this side of heaven. God established work before the fall of humanity. Before Adam and Eve ever sinned, before they ever ate of the fruit they were told not to eat from, God had given them the mandate to work and keep the Garden. It is true that after the fall work became much harder—it was by the sweat of his brow that Adam was now to till the ground. We might ask ourselves, “How am I doing in maintaining my portion of God’s garden?”

Since God created work before the fall, and since God Himself worked in creating the heavens and the earth, we have a mandate to work and contribute to society. This is one of the ways we fight the spirit of entitlement in our lives. Paul admonished the Ephesians, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). Personally, I love working heartily for the Lord and sharing thousands of dollars with the poor every year. But what really defines those who are poor? Again, Paul tells the Thessalonians, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Exposing the Lie

Entitlement, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something; the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges); a type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group.” Having a spirit of entitlement goes against the gospel itself, the fact that Jesus saved us when we were dead in our sins.

Beloved, we have no rights when it comes to entitlement. We gave up our rights the moment we were born from above and stepped into the Kingdom of God, thus letting God rule and reign in our lives. We were not saved to be entitled people, but people who are called to walk in the favor of God.

Favor, on the other hand, is the Greek word charis, which means grace, favor, or kindness. The favor of God is a gift or blessing brought to us by Jesus Christ. It’s both unmerited and undeserved. The fact that we have been born again is a result of the kindness of God—we didn’t do anything to deserve it or be entitled to it. We weren’t good enough, righteous enough, or holy enough to deserve salvation. Rather, it was a gift freely given by God when we were dead in our sins. Ephesians 2:8–9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…” That doesn’t sound like a gift given because someone was entitled to it.

Please know that my heart in writing about this subject is to glorify God and train, protect, and set the captive free for those who may be confusing God’s favor with a spirit of entitlement. As I have said for many years, “People who are deceived don’t know they are deceived because they are deceived.”  Let’s learn to quickly recognize when the enemy is trying to deceive us regarding a spirit of entitlement and when we are really walking in God’s favor.

God’s grace is freely given to us, so we should always seek to be a blessing to others. We should seek to be the greatest givers, the greatest tippers, the greatest employers, and the greatest employees, contributing to the betterment of humanity. Let us be people who never demand that someone else is required to take care of us. Rather, let us be people who rest in God’s favor on our lives.