Enter the Hard Way

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There is a solution to entitlement, which I call the Hard Way. The Hard Way is the entitlement cure. It is a path of behaviors and attitudes that undo the negative effects of entitlement, whether in ourselves or in others.

Here’s my definition of the Hard Way:

The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.

When you deem something worthwhile, be it a career or financial dream, a great family or marriage or some self-care goal, you have two ways to go about it. Entitlement directs you to give the minimum, find the shortcut, and think only of yourself. The Hard Way takes the opposite tack. This habit focuses on doing whatever is best to reach the good goal, even if it is difficult, uncomfortable, takes longer, and requires more energy.

Does that sound hard? Yes, it does, because yes, it is. It’s hard to wake up early in the morning and work out. It’s hard to get to work on time. It’s hard to spend hours a day inputting data when you are a creative person. It’s hard to think creatively when you are more linear. It’s hard to have difficult conversations, to face down tough challenges, and to do the same actions, over and over again, that are required to achieve success. As the saying goes, it’s called work for a reason. But it pays off, just as good sowing leads to good reaping.

Are you hearing biblical echoes in this language? That’s because this is a highly scriptural concept:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. — Matthew 7:13–14

If you have a difficult relationship with an entitled person or group, or even if you have discovered entitlement in yourself, understand this: It doesn’t have to stay this way. The Hard Way principles work.

God originated the Hard Way, and He lives it. All through the Bible, He does the best thing, even if it is a difficult thing. He never avoids it.

The best example of this is Jesus, who suffered and died for no other reason than His love for a world that didn’t want Him.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. — Isaiah 50:7

Setting His face like flint, Jesus faced a way harder than any of the rest of us have ever had to face and created a path for us all to be redeemed and to live.

Ultimately, the Hard Way is simply God’s Way. It is how He runs the world, expresses His own values, and makes choices that affect us. You might even call it the righteous path, for it is the right and good way to live:

Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. — Proverbs 2:20

God’s ways will never fail you, even when they make you uncomfortable for a while.

Watch the Video for The Entitlement Cure

Excerpted with permission from The Entitlement Cure by Dr. John Townsend, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

God chooses doing the best thing even if it’s a difficult thing out of His great love! What wiser habit to follow that His own! What are you doing in your life, relationships, work, etc. that is difficult but best? Come share with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

The Entitlement Cure

The Entitlement Cure
John Townsend
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John Townsend

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He is coauthor of the bestselling Boundaries and author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love.

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