Reaching For Something Higher Than ‘What I Need’ and Way Past ‘What I Deserve’

I’m a marketing guy. My day job is to find the best way to cut through the clutter of emails, online pop-ups, ads, and appeals to help people understand what my company offers. In that job, the company I work for has a solution to solve an everyday problem for a certain industry. Reaching those who have the problem, then educating them in the sliver of time they will give me, is the marketing challenge.

As an author and blogger about how disconnection damages relationships and what to do to overcome it, my job is similar. I have to cut through the clutter of all the voices grabbing for your attention. But my end goal has nothing to do with introducing you to a product. I want to introduce you to helpful concepts, truths, and, I hope, biblical counsel that will help you connect with those you love. I want to help you solve the everyday problem of disconnection.

To do either of these things (for my company or my readers), I refuse to fall back on marketing cliches like ‘you deserve’ and ‘you need’, even though they have proven effective in marketing over and over. My conscience just won’t allow me to stoop to those tired old appeals. Here’s why.

When we use the word deserve, what are we basing that on? I’ve found that when people believe they deserve something, they are appealing to some slippery sense of fairness or earned reward. ‘I did so and so and I deserve… or he got that so I deserve the same.’ When we use the word need, we can mean anything from ‘I need a coffee… to I need her to understand me.’ Need is subject to a million different influences which include emotion, timing, social circle, history, living circumstances, etc, etc. Either way, when deserve and need are used this way, they are me focused – “I deserve, I need.”

What we really deserve based on our behavior is nothing like what we actually receive based on God’s grace. What we really need has been so misdefined and abused that to make it meaningful is almost impossible. So I want to call us to something higher. Something better than what we deserve. Something that far exceeds any earthly need.

Consider this from God’s Word,

For the wages of sin (what we deserve) is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (what we truly need!) Romans 6:23

In order to make this gift available, our Heavenly Father sacrificed His greatest treasure, His only Son. When God made that sacrifice, He was saying that a relationship with us was so valuable to Him that He was willing to purchase at the highest price the greatest gift ever given. And He did it when we were yet His enemies.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10

So God was willing to pay the ultimate price to win those who were His enemies into an intimate relationship with Himself. Wow!

What if we were to apply this same passion to our relationships? What if we would sacrifice what is most dear to us in order to win an intimate relationship with those we love? (who, by the way, may feel like the enemy at times) When we focus on what we deserve or need we completely miss the example of Jesus. He focused on His Father and us. He determined to please His Father whatever the cost. He determined to go to the cross for us, no matter how deep His personal pain or shame. When we follow His example, turn our focus to those we love, and for the sake of our Heavenly Father, sacrifice our desires for His delight, we will start to bless everyone around us. So instead of thinking about what we deserve or need, let’s start today to serve everyone around us. Even if it feels like they are the enemy. In doing so, we will be reflecting the perfect love of Jesus and becoming ever more intimate with God and man!

Comments 2

  1. I am grateful for articles like this. Most people don’t live a life of sacrificial serving. My question has to do with those (like myself) who have done this to the point of “losing myself” without realizing it until it was gone. God showed me I was not stewarding my life well. It has been a journey to learn how to steward my mind, emotions, body, etc. , because I use to give and give at the expense of hurting myself. What would u say to someone like me at the other end of the spectrum?

    1. Post

      What an excellent question! I think you have learned the valuable lesson that Jesus taught by example. After having poured Himself out day after day (I think to the point of human exhaustion), He took breaks from serving in order to spend time with His disciples and His Heavenly Father. Check out passages like Mark 1:35, 6:30-32, Luke 5:15-16, 6:12-13, and many others. Self-care is important with one caution: Our culture over-emphasizes self care to the point of sinful indulgence. We can be tempted to do the same. When Jesus withdrew Himself to solitary places, it was purposeful. He fellowshipped with His Father and those who likewise sought His Father. Keeping this in mind will help you make the most of your self-care. Also – I like your term stewardship for self-care! You are tending to your own needs (or, allowing God to meet your needs) in order to maintain your strength and outlook for serving others. Kept in balance – you are wise to steward yourself by spending time receiving from God and others rather than constantly pouring yourself out to exhaustion!

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