In my mind, I will list all the things that I forgo and use that to justify something that I want to do.
For me, a lot of times this internal dialogue happens when I’m about to make a purchase – especially one that I know other people may question. I will mentally outline all the other little luxuries that I deny myself and thereby support my decision to spend my money all the while reminding myself of how hard I worked for that cash. It can get to the place where not only can I justify the purchase, but I can convince myself that I deserve it. After all, as I remind myself, I’ve sacrificed so much.
Scripture, however, makes it clear that while I do owe a debt, it is not to my own desires. Romans 8:12 states this emphatically. We think we owe ourselves a lot, when in reality, we owe God a debt that we can never repay. Whatever personal sacrifice we have made, is nothing compared to the sacrifice of His Son who left Heaven in order to die a gruesome death, and then conquered death by rising in three days. Through this sacrifice He has graciously paid the debt of our sin if we repent and place our faith in Him. However, this is not so that we can go back to living for ourselves. Instead, it is His desire that we live for Him.
This means that when I make a purchase the question is not whether I deserve it. When I want to do something, it is not about all the other things that I have given up. The only issue at stake is whether it will bring glory to God. The question is whether I am walking according to His Spirit or according to my own inclinations. If it’s the latter, than the decision will never be the correct one because it’s based on a skewed perspective. My focus needs to be on His desires, not my own.
It can be hard to not tally up what we think we’re owed and try to collect. However, God has already given us far more than we can ever deserve. Instead of trying to “repay” ourselves, we should invest our lives in living for Him.