We’ve all heard someone say, "He’s a self-made man." What are they saying in this statement? Are they saying that this individual achieved success by his hard work and sweat? Many a person has achieved it through honest hard work. There is a danger for all of us who may have achieved significance through our work. That danger is the belief that we achieved this through our own efforts apart from the grace and mercy of God. When we live in this belief, we assert that we are entitled to certain rights and privileges because of the position we have earned and feel we deserve.
The prodigal son’s brother who refused to celebrate the wayward son’s return was a man who felt he was entitled to certain rights. He saw his life as one who had been faithful to his responsibilities and deserving of more attention. He could not appreciate his brother’s failure and the pain of falling into a sinful life because he had never failed in his mind. This pride kept him from experiencing the real grace of God. This is how legalism develops in the believer. It grows into a cold heart and an insensitive attitude toward others who may have stumbled in their life. This same brother did not truly understand the love of his father apart from works; for he only felt he gained acceptance by doing his job.
Do you feel accepted by God regardless of what you do? Have you wrongfully viewed your works as something you alone have achieved? These are the minefields of which each of us in business must be aware. God has gifted us through His grace, not by our works, to accomplish anything.