Humbled or hardened?

During the past 20 plus years I've discipled and counseled women and teen girls, I've often been asked,  "God's humbled and broken me enough! When will this trial end?" My response? "Apparently, neither has happened."

Sadly, I've witnessed too many professing Christians say they are humbled, yet live with hardened and calloused hearts as they deceptively believe God Almighty owes them something.
"Who has first given to Me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine...Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!

'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?'
'Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?'

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen."
~Job 41:11, Rom 11:33-36
Many Christians (especially here in America) feel entitled; they've done everything right and still, God does not give them their hearts' greatest desire and they become angry, bitter and falsely pious. They begin to find their faith futile, and while they continue to present themselves as steadfast and immovable in the public's eye, their soul is filled with unrest, anxiety and haunts of past heartaches.

Unfortunately this public display of false piety forces the entitled and arrogant person to lash out on
those they think will dismiss their cruelty (e.g., spouse, children, extended family members and friends) confident that their inconsiderate, hurtful and self-centered actions and words will remain hidden.

To increase their sin, rather than truly repent, they throw a bone at their loved ones with flattery, false accolades, smooth words of adoration and sometimes, even tangible "gifts"; not so the recipient's wounds are healed, but so they themselves might once again feel justified by their own "righteous" acts (Is 64:6).

This is truly a sad way for any professing Christian to live.

How do Christians stumble into this deceptive world of entitlement? This happens when we forget daily to see ourselves in view of the Cross of Christ, His glorious life, condescension, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension that saves us from God's wrath, eternal damnation in Hell and hopelessness of living this life enslaved to the sin in our flesh.
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins."
~2 Peter 1:5-9 (emphasis mine)
When we merely view Jesus as a carpenter, our dirty and lowly fix-it man, who's sole purpose is to "fix" our lives and make us happy; from this blasphemous view of Christ our God, we easily succumb to the lie that God is for us, not because He is good, but because we are. Nothing could be further from the truth, for God alone is good and He alone can produce any good (Mk 10:18, James 1:16-17).

Even the good things we do, originate from the Lord, not from us. Except for the Spirit of Christ, there is no good within us (Rom 3:10-18).
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them...Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work  for His good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be  blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world"
~Eph 2:10, Philippians 2:112-15 (emphasis mine)
God has recorded throughout Scripture, a person who is truly broken and humbled says something more like: "As long as it takes, Lord, as long as it takes. Break me, mold me and mend me. I am your slave. Do to me as You please. I hope, life, is in You alone."

A truly humble spirit seeks God to test them and discipline them (Ps 139:23-24, Heb 12:11) because they wisely understand the good fruit that is born from trials that are mightily and righteously fashioned by the loving hands of God our Father, who faithfully conforms us into the beautiful image of His beloved Son (Rom 8:28-29).

Asaph, the Levite and Habakkuk the prophet are both familiar with this truth. By God's grace, He recorded in His word: pleas, bitter cries and complaints of His children, as they struggle to see the good work of God, amidst the wreckage of a sin-filled and fallen world.

They loved God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength, therefore were greatly burdened by the appearance that God was not only overlooking the evil around them, but also ignoring their prayers for God's help and for Him to intervene and exact His justice on the evil while relieving any and all pains and heartaches from His people who are called by His name.

In Psalm 73, Asaph begins his plea with this:  "Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Here, Asaph sets up this wonderful encounter he had with God; where he learned that he was not truly broken by the evil he witnessed around him, but rather, he had become calloused by his false piety in light of his "righteous works".

At the end of this psalm, Asaph is humbled after he sees himself in the glorious truth of who God is, and all the Lord has saved him from. It's ironic that this Levitical priest who was assigned as the leader of worship and praise for God's people, struggled with the same self-righteousness we do; which inevitably hardens our hearts and makes us blind to all the good God is working, even in the midst of this sin-wrought world.
"But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end...

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
~Psalm 73:16-17, 21-26 (emphasis mine)
Habakkuk went through something similar. If you've never read this short book before, I suggest you do (it's only three chapters long).

In the book of Habakkuk, he complains to God, much like Asaph.

Habakkuk complains twice, God answers the prophet twice, God gives him two oracles and one vision; then, Habakkuk prays a most faith-filled we should all aspire to pray with all our hearts.
"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on my high places."
~Habakkuk 3:17-19
If today, you are one of those embittered souls who continuously ask God, "Why me, Lord?" or "After all I've done for You and in the name of Your Son, how can You let this happen to me while I see those less righteous than I prospering and living happy, stress-free lives?" —know that you need to humble yourself before God, let go of your false piety and high esteem of yourself and plead to God for forgiveness of your presumptuousness and blasphemous attitude of believing He owes you good, rather than the evil we all deserve.

When you come to the Lord with a genuine and tendered heart to truly hear His voice and do His will (1 Pet 1:22, Matt 5:8), He will gently come to you, quiet your heart with His love and rejoice over you with singing (Zeph 3:17). When this happens, you'll look at yourself, your entire life and those around you with complete sobriety, rather than through the drunken bifocals of pride (Rom 12:3).
"The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor."
~Proverbs 15:29-33