girlcouchlux_2.0-849x499Finding My Happy

What is millennial entitlement?

Casey Bruce of the Huffington Post writes about a friend who hashtags everything on Instagram as #FindingMyHappy. Casey’s point in her March 2015 article is that, “Happiness means a lot to millennials.” So much so, that Casey asks, “What’s the point of life if one can’t be happy?” Then, Casey writes what most thinking people have come to realize:

“I think one of the most detrimental issues we face as a society is that we are constantly trying to one-up one another on social media, and other avenues, to display our happiness based on societal norms and benchmarks. ‘I’m engaged, I’m so happy…’ ‘I’m having a baby…I’m so happy,’ ‘I got a new job, I’m so happy…’”

It’s refreshing to observe someone (someone younger and far more hip than I) quantify the problem. By far, the most obvious emotional damage social media breeds is the revolving door of “virtual” happiness that floats always a “hands grasp” away from reality, prompting an entire generation to desire status in a world that will never exist.

When a generation is reared by following a hundred accounts of various sinners and saints, only reading what press agents or personal pride prompts they post, it’s no doubt that the average life loses some of it’s glamour. Even when we follow the posts of those close to us, we rarely read of their trial and terror, death and defeat. No, normally, we only read of their “happiness.” It would seem then, that the entire world is #FindingTheirHappy.

“Round and round the circle goes,

Where it stops nobody knows.

I read you and you read me,

Perfection is all I’ll let you see.”

Sadly, it is this cacophony of surrealism that prompts millennials to jump from toy to toy, boy to boy, job to job, and church to church, pursuing an alternate reality that doesn’t exist. The key term in this frantic search is, “I feel” because all is based on the happiness lie of modern childhood, “If it makes you happy, it must be good.”

It’s amazing how otherwise brilliant people have bought into this search for the next emotional high, instead of hard work, consistency, sacrifice, and building a life that matters. Sadly, many kind and hopeful millennials aren’t seeing reality until it’s too late, spending half their life skipping out on the very people who could help them find worth.

Many modern authors have come to call this “Entitlement.” Literally, a person’s right to be happy. But, it’s not entitlement at all; it’s something far more dangerous…

If you have skipped out on multiple jobs, have a hard time keeping friends, boomerang back to your parents for assistance, have short dating relationships, feel nostalgic or depressed when scrolling online, get frustrated when churches don’t make you feel important, believe worship music is about how you feel, ponder why no one encourages you at work, or get frustrated when someone tries to correct you, then keep reading…

Purging My Pride

1 John 2:16 describes the three categories of struggle, which Satan imposes on earth to knock people down. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

The first two elements are self-explanatory. “Lust of the flesh” refers to the base desires of selfish satisfaction, everything from sex to money. “Lust of the eyes” refers to greed and covetousness of that which remains out of reach. So, we have a one-two punch of desperation for more and more evil.

Although both of these elements are horrific and urge on “entitlement” neither are the instigator. The driver of entitlement is the third destructive force of Satan, “The boastful pride of life.”

The word pride means literally to be braggadocios or to elevate oneself. Pride is the arrogance by which Satan was cast from heaven, the derision that refuses to worship God, and the celebration of self that motivates all other sin (Ps 10:3, Prov 25:14, Jer 9:23, Rom 1:30, James 3:5). Remarkably, it was these primary tactics that Satan threw at Eve to taint her in the Garden and at Jesus to tempt Him in the desert (Gen 3:1-7, Luke 4:1-13).

Think for a minute about the nature of pride. Pride prompts the user to boast when things are good and to pity when things are not. Pride prompts the user to only show his or her best parts. Pride prompts the user to deride the reality of, or importance of, another authority. Pride prompts the user to elevate personal feelings above objective truths. Pride prompts the user to fight or flee when true weakness is observed. Pride prompts the user to believe that he or she deserves a better life than the person next door. Pride prompts the user to believe that his or her talents are superior regardless of what history and data have proven.

Therefore, pride is the beast that causes a person run out on relationships, skip job to job, boomerang from responsibility, make worship all about themselves, fail their spouse, fail their friends, and post surreal reports of prestige and popularity.

Conclusion

Pride has been around since the beginning (ask Eve) therefore millennial’s are prideful just like everyone else. And, social media doesn’t make the next generation any more sinful than the last. What social media does do, however, is provide a portal to publicize that pride. In fact, there has never been a time in history where global pride has been more on display.

While calling it “entitlement” may help people feel better it won’t help anyone. John goes on to list the solution in 1 John 2:17, “And the world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

The only remedy for pride, regardless of age, is confession and repentance, accepting that the world is fading fast, the entire storyline is about someone else (Christ Jesus), and only what we say, do, and write (post) for His glory will exist beyond the grave.

Posted by Anthony Wood

Anthony is Pastor of Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA, and has authored the books Defining Church & Defining Family. He’s married to Bre, and they have three children. More @AnthonyGeneWood

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