There is not a single thing this world can give us that we have a right to own. Now before you get on your soap-box and start talking about basic human rights, hear me out. Underneath our polished, polite exterior hides an ugly reality; one that is full of pride, lust, selfishness, greed, and cowardice. There is no inherent goodness in any one of us, for we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Who hasn’t lied, had an unkind thought, gossiped, or dowloaded music illegally? We are all like sheep who have gone astray, each has turned to his own way (Isaiah 53:6).
Because of the weight of our sin, there is a punishment. God cannot excuse our sin. If someone murdered his brother, and he stood before a judge and said, “Yes, I know that I committed this crime, but I’m a nice person most of the time”, would he be excused? No, of course not. If he was a good judge, he would punish that criminal because he is committed to justice. Now, supposing that someone else came into the courtroom, and said, “Your Honor, I know this man has done wrong, but I am willing to take the punishment that he deserves.” That would be astounding, wouldn’t it? Yet, that actually happened. Jesus Christ took the punishment and anger of God that was directed toward us for breaking his commandments, and promises to forgive our debts if we repent and believe on His Name.
So here’s the thing. We actually do deserve something. That something is hell. Each one of us, because we have chosen to go our own way and disobey God, and spit in His face, are deserving of utter torment and darkness, because God is holy, and we are not. And there is a consequence for sin. That’s a sobering thought. It’s one that I need to remind myself of daily. Why? Because it changes everything. Salvation is a gift from God, and so is life itself. Nothing that we have in this life is brought about by any of our own merits or talents, for even those are a gift. Paul says, “ What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that noone can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So therefore, with this perspective, we are free. We are free from needing approval from others, free from striving to become somebody, free from clinging to things that were never ours to begin with. We can instead give thanks to the Father who gives good and perfect gifts (James 1:17), and lives our lives devoted to the Only One deserving of all honor and praise.
A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace.