God doesn’t owe you anything

Many manosphere and PUA blogs have harped on this point before. However, many Christians don’t consider this from the Christian perspective.

Donal had a post on this which explores some of the concepts, but this is my take.


Consider the story of Job. He is a blessed man, but God is the initiator in the discussion with Satan! God brings up his case before Satan, and then He allows Satan to tempt him. And yet, Job still has the correct perspective.

Job 1 (NASB)

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

We are blessed because God has given us life, and that He has chose us.

Romans 5  (NASB)

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; [d]though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

What more then does He owe us?

The correct perspective is that we owe Him a huge debt that we can never repay. And there are many parables on this very fact such as the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Parable of the Master and the Servant, etc.

Second, consider my favorite parable, the parable of the Talents. This parable is particularly illuminating in a variety of ways because of the way it goes against many modern concepts that Christians unknowingly fall prey to.

Matthew 25:14-30 (NASB) — Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his [b]master’s money.

The first revelation of the talents is that this parable is not talking literally about money. This parable is about your life. The talents are your life and what you do with it. The expression of the responsibility with money is also the responsibility you are to have with your life. What are you going to do with it?

The second is made immediately clear by the first point: Personality responsibility Stewardship [1]. Those of us entrusted with talents — and talents in the body of Christ are varied — and we have a personal responsibility to use them in a manner worthy of God.

[1] Correction analysis here.

The third point is that life is not fair. Why does one receive 5 talents? Why does one receive 2 talents? Why does one receive 1 talent? If we believe that God created us and formed us, and we know that God knows us better than ourselves and our own abilities then we know that “He gives to us each according to our abilities.” The key is not that some have received more and some have received less; it is that you are to do with your ability what God has given you.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your [c]master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

This is where the parable diverts into talking about the kingdom of God. We are to be responsible with what we have been given for God, and to reap a reward. We are to store up treasures in heaven, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be blessed here on earth insomuch as God deigns to bless ministries.

Many of God’s commands are conditional:

  • Honor your father and mother… then you will live a long full life in the land that LORD your God is giving you.
  • If you love me you will obey my commands.
  • If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people [d]who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money [d]in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Without even going into the consequences of the servant who hid his talents/life, the most interesting part of the last section of the parable to me has always been that to those who have shown responsibility with things God will often give more.

If you follow anything on the financial side of things Dave Ramsey recently had a column on 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day. The backlash from this blog is amazing (you can google it + the commentary that Dave has on the blog itself), but it shows that people don’t understand what personal responsibility is.

The habits that you build that encourage growth (reading your Bible, prayer, fasting, listening to God, serving others) are self perpetuating and build responsibility. Likewise, the habits that you don’t create in the list above are also self perpetuating. Out of the mindset come actions and actions for habits.

Therefore, riddle me this.

How can God entrust many “Christian nice guys” with wives when they aren’t personally responsible for growth in their own lives and don’t have experience serving others?

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23 Responses to God doesn’t owe you anything

  1. Sis says:

    It is so refreshing to hear from someone who gets it. My husband was just telling me how God answers Job’s question at the end of the book explains how we should handle difficulties in our lives. It is too easy to forget our place in this world.

  2. @ Sis

    Thanks! It’s really interesting to see how much your perspective changes as you grow and serve others.

  3. >”How can God entrust many “Christian nice guys” with wives when they aren’t personally responsible for growth in their own lives and don’t have experience serving others?”

    They have tons of experience serving. What they lack, and what they need, is experience ruling.

    I see the current misapprehensions under which Christians live to be negative talents.

    Of course, now that we are disabused, well, the expectations just went up.

  4. @ seriouslypleasedropit

    They have tons of experience serving. What they lack, and what they need, is experience ruling.

    The light bulb will turn on when you realize they are one in the same. It’s the oxymoron of “servant leadership” though I do agree that the servant part is overemphasized.

    How can people in third world countries live in conditions of extreme poverty with such joy and peace, while those of us in the US, Canada, UK, etc are bitter, malcontented, and ungrateful?

    When you realize your debt is only to God, you are able to serve with peace, faith, and a boldness in your heart, soul, and strength and not expect anything in return. This is what is going to be attractive to women.

    Are you serving from strength or are you serving from weakness? I bless others with my abilities because God has first blessed me. Not because it is required of me as a Christian. Not because I want to gain the favor of others. Not because I want a wife. And I expect to be uncomfortable and to grow as God works in me through what I do.

    This is the difference in the mindset of the rich from the poor, and from those with plenty and those with nothing, and those who have and those who have not.

    Does this make sense? Most Christian men are stuck in the prison of their own mind of which they are afraid to leave.

  5. “Are you serving from strength or are you serving from weakness? I bless others with my abilities because God has first blessed me. Not because it is required of me as a Christian. Not because I want to gain the favor of others. Not because I want a wife. And I expect to be uncomfortable and to grow as God works in me through what I do.”

    I think this is fairly well-known throughout Christianity, as far as I can tell. What I do not think is well-known, is divine sanction of male authority. Oh, perhaps it’s “known,” but I don’t think guys believe it enough to give them the confidence to beat fitness tests.

    I linked the Mission from God Blues Brothers video before at Donal’s, and I really think it’s an example of the frame guys need to have. Christian men should not feel bashful about wanting to marry, and they should completely blow off whatever protestations women have about that*. The women aren’t forced to marry them, of course, but the guys should feel zero shame—they’re just trying to fulfill a commandment. “Eve. Put down the fruit, babe. We’ve got things to do.” When they meet resistance (“You know nothing about this tree! I need to explore the world!”), their frame should be “You’re right, I know squat. But the Lord said to do such-and-such, and I choose him.”) You needn’t be a secret millionaire hunky handyman to be confident in that.

    It’s easy to mistake me for saying something else, so I want to illustrate what I’m not saying.

    First, Christian men do not have a commandment to date women. Paging Dalrock for endless courtship, etc. If they’re just trying for a makeout, “and then, well, we’ll see where things go,” then they don’t really have God’s backing, as far as I can tell. The focus should be on marriage.

    Second, Christian men do not have a commandment or mandate to get married, have a ton of sex, and then live childless the rest of their lives. Rather they get married to help their mission of multiplying/replenishing, going forth and teaching/baptizing all nations, and loving their neighbor.

    Third, Christian men need to understand that she’s a help, not a partner identical to him. She needs love and care where he doesn’t, and, well, you know, you can find this part everywhere. The only thing I have to add is that “being in charge” is not one of her needs, and it is yours.

    *They may have to approach delicately, but this is for the woman’s sake, not their own. They shouldn’t drink their own Kool-Aid.

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  7. @ seriouslypleasedropit

    I linked the Mission from God Blues Brothers video before at Donal’s, and I really think it’s an example of the frame guys need to have. Christian men should not feel bashful about wanting to marry, and they should completely blow off whatever protestations women have about that*. The women aren’t forced to marry them, of course, but the guys should feel zero shame—they’re just trying to fulfill a commandment. “Eve. Put down the fruit, babe. We’ve got things to do.” When they meet resistance (“You know nothing about this tree! I need to explore the world!”), their frame should be “You’re right, I know squat. But the Lord said to do such-and-such, and I choose him.”) You needn’t be a secret millionaire hunky handyman to be confident in that.

    Correct, the frame of mind and frame of reference are THE most important factors with which a godly masculine man must be knowledgeable in.

    This is the difference between a sinner who accepts the gift of salvation from God, and a person who is unsaved because they think God could never forgive them. They are both sinners, but the mindset of one limits them from receiving God.

    Let me put it this way. It says in the gospels that the people (multitude) were amazing because Jesus taught as one who had authority.

    Since we are called to be Jesus’ ambassadors in all of the earth and are striving for Christ-likeness, we are to know the Scriptures enough that we are to be able to speak with authority on our faith. Most Christians are wishy-washy and superficial about that.

    What woman respects a man who is wishy-wasy and superficial?

    None.

  8. donalgraeme says:

    How can God entrust many “Christian nice guys” with wives when they aren’t personally responsible for growth in their own lives and don’t have experience serving others?

    I don’t think it was what you were trying to say, but this statement isn’t terribly far from the idea that God will match us up with our intended spouse. I’ve argued elsewhere why this is false, and see no need to repeat myself. But in the context of your post, I think it important to point something out.

    Save for a few extraordinary exceptions, God doesn’t give any man a wife. Instead, men in the Bible were expected to take a wife for themselves. Note the word take. That is a word demonstrating intention and action. An example:

    18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[k] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. 20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

    23 “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and his name shall be called Emman′u-el”

    (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had borne a son;[l] and he called his name Jesus.

    The whole process of taking a wife is rife with responsibility (yes, I’m a frustrated poet). And responsibility doesn’t come easily, it requires intention and action. The problem for most “Christian nice guys” is they have never developed the kind of discipline which allows them to combine intention and action together properly. In short, they don’t know how to use their talents as they should. Because of this. they cannot assume any personal responsibility, and cannot grow as Christians. As a result, all they can do is lament that life is unfair, and do nothing meaningful to change themselves or the world around them.

  9. @ Donal

    I agree with the sentiment that we exercise free will in taking a wife and that we are not given one. However, I don’t think the point I was attempting to make and this one are mutually exclusive.

    God does not put us in situations beyond that which we are tempted.

    If you threw most Christian men in a room with a a couple naked supermodels that wants to have sex with them I bet the majority of men including myself would fall prey to that temptation. It’s an absurd situation, right?

    Insomuch as we are willing to have faith and seek God, He tends to meet us where we are in the right moment when we are walking in His will. But, it is still our choice to choose to do it or not.

    Salvation is the same way in my opinion. He chose us, but we still have free will to make that choice. And it’s in His time that we accept.

    Ignorance has never been an excuse for those who trust in Jesus, nor has it been for his people (see Hosea 4:6).

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  13. Neguy says:

    I’d like to ask for a clarification. When you say “God doesn’t owe you anything” are you implying that none of God’s multitudinous promises apply to this world? I don’t think God owes me anything in the sense that he’s obligated to give me things because of my own merits. However, I think I’ve got every right to expect God to honor his word. The old testament people never hesitated to remind God of what he had promised them (see 2 Chronicles 20 for example). Once God gives his word, then he is obligated to keep it by his very nature.

    Given that God made many, many promises (e.g, that he’s a rewarder of those who seek him), I’m curious to know whether you think these promises have any real applicability in the now or whether they are all eschatalogical. And by real applicability I mean a results that we can specifically detect or anticipate as opposed to saying BS like “oh yes, this cancer must just be a blessing from God.” (I’m not saying God can’t use cancer, but the people in the Bible like the Pslamists always called a spade a spade when it came to what they were going through. For us to do differently I think is very wrong and comes very close to falling into the Job’s friends trap).

  14. Correct. We know that God always honors the promises He gives us if we keep His commands. His word doesn’t return void (Isaiah 55). And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).

    The main problem for most Christians to understand is that God fulfills His promises in His own way. He may not give us what we WANT but He instead gives us what we NEED when we obey His commands.

    Some of the promises mentioned such as the above ones are fairly specific. Honor your father and mother that you may live a long life in the land. If they turn from their wicked ways He will heal our land. But many others have non-specific fulfillment such as the beatitudes and IMO God will bring them fulfillment in both this world and the world to come.

    3 “[b]Blessed are the [c]poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    5 “Blessed are the [d]gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
    9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
    10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    A topic like this can be a whole other series of posts.

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  20. Robin Munn says:

    I just found your blog, which is why I’m leaving comments on stories from months ago. But I do like Dave Ramsey’s response (in the section “A Word from Dave…”) to the backlash that his list generated. He starts off listing the things he does for the poor and sounding like he’s going to be conciliatory, but then he gets around to the ludicrous things he got accused of — and his response is “Is this list a way of hating the poor? Seriously? Grow up.”

    Now that’s a man who knows he’s in the right, and refuses to back down. My respect for Dave Ramsey, which was already pretty high, just went up a notch.

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  22. Andros says:

    Interesting interpretation. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that nobody was asked to be born.

  23. The universe is like a shaken bottle of water. The water represents timespace, energy the Father, “the substance of things hoped for”- Heb11:1. The air represents probability, energy the Holy Spirit, “the evidence of things not seen”- Heb11:1.The bottle itself represents the limitation of impossibilities. The shaking is the one substance exerting its oneness in one direction stirring closed circuitry, represented by the bubbles, that there be something to move out of the way and fill in behind, that all circulating the same way repel, by the basis of Planck’s volume, “the stone which the builders rejected” – Mat21:42, energy the Son, administering orthogonality that not only pushes for confluence for undifferentiation but temporarily blocks the processes of undifferentiation. But, by the second law of thermodynamics undifferentiation is naturally inevitable, centripetal undifferentiating greater than centrifugal orthogonal blocking. Each bubble eventually ceases to exist having its original eternal nonexistence restored. What is it that God took away from us that He didn’t give us, therefore that He owes us back? NONEXISTENCE!

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