I Have a Right

Have you ever used the phrase "I have a right to…"? You know, when someone confronts you about your behavior, your words, or your attitude, and you respond by saying, "I have a right to…"

I have a right to be angry.

I have a right to be afraid.

I have a right to be worried.

I have a right to feel this way.

I have a right to act this way.

It's common phraseology. In fact, we use the phrase quite frequently. But is the phrase correct? Do we truly have a right? Are we justified to be angry, afraid, worried, irritable, or vindictive? I think if we were honest with ourselves, we would know the answer is "No, we do not have the right". We may have a reason to act and feel the way we do, but that does not mean we have the right. There is a difference.

When we fully surrender our lives to God, we surrender every part of our lives, and that includes our feelings and our actions. That being said, our thoughts, feelings and actions are no longer under our control, but the control of the Spirit. And it is the Spirit who will determine whether or not we have a right to act or feel a certain way. A quick glance at the word of God will reveal that we do not.

Under no circumstances do we have the right to worry. The Word of God says that whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Under no circumstances do we have the right to be afraid, for it is commanded 365 times in the Bible that we fear not.

Under no circumstances do we have the right to be vindictive, for God's Word tells us that vengeance belongs to the Lord.

Under no circumstances do we have the right to harbor feelings of bitterness, resentment or ill will because we're supposed to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit which is the opposite of all those things.

The Bible does say that we have permission to be angry, but on the heels of that permission is a warning to sin not, and I fear that is where anger leads us when we feel we have a right to the rage we are experiencing.

This phraseology, and its misuse, was recently brought to my attention, and since that time, I've been making an effort to pay attention to what I am saying. When I catch myself using the phrase, "I have a right to…," I stop and remind myself that I do not have the right. I gave up that right when I surrendered myself fully to the Lord. He is now the dictator of my thoughts and emotions, and I can rest assured that He will always guide me to respond in a way that is pleasing to Him. And in doing so, I will also discover that situations seem to work themselves out in a more pleasing manner.

Living a life that is totally surrendered to the Lord is not an easy task, but I can assure you it is well worth the effort. And I can't explain the joy that indwells me every day as I allow the Spirit to live through me, performing His will and allowing His light to shine.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. - John 15:4-5