In the wake of a painful breakup or new life situation, we often comfort one another by saying, “You deserve better.” While our innate value as human beings created in God’s image does demand consideration, life itself is not about what we deserve. If it were, we’d be in a lot of trouble!
All of us are born into this world with a natural bent to do what is wrong. We have the capability to also appreciate and do good, but it is tainted by our sinful nature. This is because we are all “sons of Adam,” born of the lineage of the very first man. Because Adam sinned against God (Genesis 3), all of his children (and his children’s children—us!) are affected by sin. This separates us from God’s perfect holiness.
Jesus came to bridge the gap between us and God—but in order to accept Jesus, we have to acknowledge that we cannot deserve anything good on our own merit:
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John. 1:8)
Any merit we have can never make us perfect, and God cannot accept us as imperfect people or His own perfection (the foundation of his love) would be tainted. When Jesus died in our place, He made the way for us to commune with God as the only Perfect Lamb.
Life Has a Higher Purpose
When we go through life only thinking about what we “deserve,” we’re missing the big picture. God didn’t create us so we could spend our days thinking about our own interests. We have been invited into the story He is writing for the entire world!
Our purpose in life is rather simple: “…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Jesus further articulated our purpose when He delivered the Great Commission to the early church: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).
Our call in this world is not to think about what we deserve or how unfair our lives are, but to pour ourselves out for God and for our communities. We are called to make disciples—even if that means sharing the little bit you learned in that morning’s quiet time.
It’s Called Grace Because We Don’t Deserve It
Grace is only unavailable to the undeserving. If you deserve what you’re receiving, it’s not grace! And the scary thing is this: If we got what we deserved, it would be the wrath of God, which was poured out on Christ instead of on us.
…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness… (Romans 3:24-25)
This is why grace is so amazing. Life—our lives in particular—is not about what we deserve. It’s about the grace God has given to the undeserving, and how loudly we can proclaim that grace to others.