(Thanks to Jay for inspiration on this one)
When "I have to" becomes "I get to", responsibility blessedly transmutes into privilege in our attitudes and perspectives.
"They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame of His name" (Acts 5:41).
A dear friend unwaveringly responds to "How are you?" with "Better than I deserve!" I have heard him respond in this way in times of great blessing and difficulty. He speaks as a matter of both doctrine and awareness of his personal reception of God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. My friend well knows the Biblical truth that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Moreover, he recognizes the corollary truth that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). He also affirms in the most personal terms that God has graced him with much mercy and longsuffering grace of forgiveness and faithfulness. In these clear thinking and appreciative terms, we must all join my friend in the confession, "Better than I deserve!"
Translate this into the consideration of responsibility and privilege. As referenced above, the disciples provide another vivid example of "I get to" regarding greatly challenging circumstances. We normally do not rejoice when suffering shame, for any reason. Our human sensibilities recoil, often because we do not believe ourselves to deserve the approbation of others. "How dare they!" Certainly, in particular instances, we not be worthy of the indignity, any more than the disciples should have suffered shame for honoring the King of glory. When we recognize God's pervasive providence in our lives, however, a different perspective graces our sensibilities. In real terms, we remember that we deserve a far greater and eternal despite, from a far greater Source who rather receives and accepts us through the Lord Jesus. We also recognize that the Lord fits together all things in our lives for His glory and our good (I Peter 4:13; Romans 8:28). In such light, the disciples thus viewed their trial as honored privilege in terms of God's truth rather than merely the cruelty of human injustice. "We have to" became "We get to."
Every challenge of life becomes privilege when viewed through the lens of Scripture and Scripture's wise, gracious, and involved God. In this day, let us respond to the Holy Spirit's witness that calls us to view all things as privileged opportunity rather than onerous burden. This is truth and reality, as revealed in the heart-transforming grace of our Father's presence and active involvement in every moment of our existence. "Better than I deserve… I get to!"
"We ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure, which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye suffer."
(II Thessalonians 1:4-5)
Weekly Memory Verse
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.