Archive for May 7th, 2012

May 7, 2012

On Outlandish Expectations and Strong Senses of Entitlement

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Heb. 12:3
Full Text: Is. 5; Heb. 12

Millennials | Millennials comprise the largest generation since the baby boomers [1]. What are they like? Pew Research says that they are “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change” [2]. Several years ago, however, Ron Alsop wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “[T]hese young people have great – and sometimes outlandish – expectations … an unusually strong sense of entitlement” [3]. He continued, “Where do such feelings come from? Blame it on doting parents, teachers and coaches. Millennials are truly ‘trophy kids,’ the pride and joy of their parents. The millennials were lavishly praised and often received trophies when they excelled, and sometimes when they didn’t, to avoid damaging their self-esteem.”

Glory | If Alsop is right, we have a huge opportunity to put God’s glory on display in our culture. In Hebrews 11, the writer lists the many Old Testament figures that chose faith over fear – e.g., Noah, Abraham, Moses [4]. All of them were persecuted, but none of them received what was promised – namely, their final perfection [5]. In light of their lives, the writer exhorts us, “[L]et us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely … looking to Jesus … who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” [6]. He continues, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” [7].

Context | In other words, we can show God’s glory in our culture by clinging to Christ, not our self-esteem, for endurance [8]. Our “outlandish expectations” and “strong senses of entitlement” are tethered to the age to come, not this age! We don’t need cultural trophies because Christ himself is our trophy. We endure adversity by knowing that after the cross comes the crown. When we view the world like this, we won’t grow weary. Instead, we’ll endure until we come “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and … to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant” [9].

Prayer | Lord, You have given us new hearts and new identities. We don’t need to be coddled by this world because you’re on our side! [10] Give us a confidence that is unshakable so that we can endure adversity with joy because we know what’s coming. Let us consider Jesus, who endured immeasurable adversity for our sake, so that we will not grow faint of heart. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Most people consider the Millennials to be those individuals born between 1980 and 2001.  |  [2] Pew Research Center. Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next (various resources).  | [3] Ron Alsop. “The Trophy Kids Go to Work.” The Wall Street Journal. 21 October 2008.  |  [4] See Hebrews 11 (which is often referred to as The Roll Call of the Faithful).  |  [5] See   Hebrews 11:40 (noting that those who have gone before us “should not be made perfect” apart from us).  |  [6] Hebrews 12:1, 2.  |  [7] Hebrews 12:3 ESV  |  [8] The way that our culture views “self-esteem” is largely counter to the biblical perspective on how we should view ourselves. Yes, we should affirm people, but the problem lies in how we are affirming them or on what basis are we affirming them. For additional thoughts on this topic, see Sam Crabtree, “Is It God-Centered to Praise People?” 13 March 2012; Jonathan Parnell, “How Should We Think About Self-Worth.” 1 March 2012.  |  [9] See Hebrews 12:18-29.  |  [10] See Psalm 118:6; Hebrews 13:6; Romans 8:31.

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