Join us this month for the 2015 GiveThanks!x7 challenge! Each day we will record seven things we are thankful for. Let’s lift our hearts in thanksgiving to the Lord for all of His blessings.
Do I Have Rights?
by Sarah Lee Bryant
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
In today’s man-centered culture, we hear so much about “our rights.” We are bombarded constantly with this mentality. “You deserve it,” people tell us. And this often subtly creeps into our thoughts, as Christians.
However, God’s Word has something completely different to tell us.
Our life is not our own. As sinners saved by grace, our will has been crucified with Christ on the Cross. It is no longer “alive”—rather, we are to be a living manifestation of Jesus to the world. He died for us that we may live for Him. And so we are commanded to live out JESUS in our life. We do not have “rights,” for we are Christ’s bondservant.
Stop there—what does it mean I don’t have any rights? This goes so much against my nature, that it is almost impossible to fully comprehend. In my mind, I know this is true, because God’s Word teaches this. However—in daily life, I think this selfish mentality surfaces more than I realize.
Let me share a real life example! Let’s say that a younger sibling was given permission to do something that I have never been able to do before. In my flesh, I feel injusticed. The thought secretly creeps in—Why can I not do that? This isn’t fair! I am several years older but have never been able to do that! I deserve to be able to!
Yes, it’s humbling to admit that these thoughts actually did come to my mind in this situation. But maybe you can relate.
Only a few seconds after these selfish thoughts surfaced, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind this verse—I am crucified with Christ. And I remembered that in reality, as Christ’s, I don’t have any rights. I don’t deserve anything—in fact I do deserve eternal punishment for my sins, but the Lord Jesus Christ has freely given me new life. Because He gave His life on the Cross, I now live by faith of Him Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
“The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
As I thought on these truths, immediately the Lord corrected my attitude and I realize how selfish this issue was. Previously, in my flesh I felt shortchanged, but now in my spirit, I felt overwhelmingly grateful for this reminder of who I am in Christ. I was able to rejoice with my sibling in their privilege.
Do you remember that as a daughter of the King, you too are crucified with the Lord? Your desires no longer reign, but your life is to be a living sacrifice for the Lord.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
Being a living sacrifice inevitably means pain and loss along the way. It is not natural. So when you are called by the Lord to die to self—do you remember that you are crucified with the Son of God? Are you willing to give up “your rights”?
Let’s evaluate our hearts together. I’d like to ask you what I have been considering: What do you perceive as your “right”?
- Is it your personal space?
- Is it a warm shower and clean body?
- Is it respect and “fair treatment”?
- Is it to be able to live without persecution for what is right?
- Is it a quiet spot for uninterrupted time with the Lord?
- Is it food you like?
- Is it complete respect and obedience from your siblings?
- Is it to have a “godly family”?
- Is it the right to be able to drive at age 16?
- Is it to make your own decisions at age 18?
- Is it to live happily and comfortably?
- Is it for life/your future to go according to your dreams (even if they are Biblical and good)?
- Is it a healthy body?
What is it for you today? The world tells us that all of these things and thousands more are your right to have and experience. However, God tells us “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:19)
“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
“I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:19)
Are you willing to live 100% for Christ, that the life of Jesus and His will may be played out through your body?
When we realize we don’t deserve or have a right to anything, then we are so much happier. We don’t have unmet expectations, and we aren’t disappointed when someone crosses our path or has something we’d like. We realize that we have been given SO MUCH and only have reason to overflow with praise to God for His unbounding mercy! Which, by the way, we don’t deserve!
I would like to encourage you, dear sister, to memorize the following verses from 2 Corinthians 4. If possible, memorize the entire chapter; ask your sister or friend to do it with you. The Lord will bring it to mind as you strive to live all for Jesus.
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”
(II Corinthians 4:10-12)
The Lord knows what trials and situations we need to go through so that we would grow more selfLESS and more like Christ. That we may bear in our bodies the life of the Lord Jesus. Let’s be faithful in the tests that come our way daily, and remember we are here for the glory of God. Life is about Him. It is not about you. It is not about me. It is not about our comfort and pleasure. It is about glorifying our Savior Who has ransomed us with His own blood.
Let’s remember true freedom is found when we realize I do not have rights.
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24)