In this me centered world – a world of me and mine; what is really mine? What are my rights? Two thoughts come to mind as I attempt to address this very real concern for us as believers. First is Philippians 2:1-11 which instructs us of the mindset we ought to have, and second is the inheritance, the right we have as children of the Most High. I think it’s important for us to differentiate, understand and apply both principles to our lives if we want to live victoriously.
Let’s get it right. In and of ourselves, we don’t have any rights! We were a fallen people, sinners; condemned. Our “righteousness” are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The consequence of our sin is death (Rom. 6:23). We were redeemed while still in sin by the blood of Jesus. Righteousness was imputed to us because of his blood. We have value and “rights” not because of who we are but because of whose we are. So when I think of my rights or our rights I think first of the platform, the foundation laid by Jesus Christ our Lord, and succinctly expressed in Philippians 2:1-11.
“…Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him a name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:3-11)
This, my friends, is the platform for our rights. We must first die to ourselves, die to our life of sin and pick up our cross and follow Jesus. (Rom. 6:1-13; Luke 9:23) What attitude did Jesus have? He who had all the rights as Creator, gave them up and became as nothing to save us. Astounding! Rights, what rights do we have? Only those God gives us as new creatures in Christ Jesus and as incredible as those new rights are they are shrouded in a cloak of humility because we do not deserve them.
It’s important for us to know our rights. We have the right to repent and receive forgiveness. We have the right to eternal life in Christ Jesus. We have the right to be healed. We have the right to serve (Matt. 20:25-28), the right to peace and soundness of mind (Phil 4:6-7; 2 Tim.1:7). As sons and daughters of God we have the right and power to rebuke the devil (James 4:7-8). We have the right, the power and the privilege to loose those held captive by the bonds of the enemy (Matt. 16:19; John 14:12). We have the right to take back what Satan has stolen from us. We have the right to pray, the right to intercede, the right to defend the helpless, the right to proclaim the good news of the Jesus Christ, the right to sing God’s praises and the right to pursue God. We have a multitude of rights. They’re just not self-centered. We gave up the right to self when we accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives. It is no longer “I” but Christ that lives in us – the hope of glory (Col.1:27).
We have awesome rights in Christ Jesus, but let us remember that with these rights come equally awesome responsibilities. We have rights as children and ambassadors of Christ, but with those privileges come accountability. We will all one day have to give account for how we used our rights (Rom. 14:12).
In a world that's focused on the promotion of self, let us remember to keep our focus- our eyes, on Christ, not on me and mine. For it's not about us anymore. Everything we have belongs to God. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Eph. 3:1-4)