Imagine you just took your driver’s test. Before you took the test, you studied and practised driving, remembering all the rules and signs. You then hear the words, “You pass.”
Now, you have the privilege to drive, but passing the test doesn’t give you the right to just drive however you want, neglecting all the rules and responsibilities you spent time remembering.
Getting the privilege to drive also means taking responsibility and obeying the rules.
As we get older, we realise nearly everything we do comes with a certain responsibility, and that includes our relationship with God.
When we receive the privilege of being God’s child, we take the responsibility of choosing faith over fear. His love for us has been set into our hearts, so it is our responsibility to share it with others, to help others with their relationship with God, and to set His name on high in our everyday lives.
“Because he has set his love on me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high, because he has known my name.” (Psalm 91:14)
Following the rules, as in the previous driving example, is not the only aspect of taking responsibility; it also involves being willing to answer for your actions and accepting accountability for what you have done (or have not done). It is taking responsibility for your actions and commitments.
But since we are flawed human beings, we often refuse to accept accountability for the things we do. In fact, we tend to put others to blame, trying to shift the burden of accountability to someone else, and, when faced with our mistakes, we immediately start to defend our actions.
It is common for people who are going through a hard time to blame God for it. We find it very easy to see God as cruel and disconnected – after all, we can’t see Him!
One biblical example can be found in Job’s wife, who attempted to persuade her husband to curse God and hold Him as responsible for the disasters that befell them (Job 2:9: His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”)
Instead of blaming God, we should thank Him for everything that has happened to us, even when it feels really hard. He is working for our good through both the bad and good times, though we might not be able to comprehend His plan in the midst of it. As Creator and Ruler of all, God knows what He’s doing. He takes great responsibility for even the smallest part of our personal lives.
Christians Must Take Great Responsibility
As Christians, God wants us to be responsible.God has given us laws that lead us how we should behave and act towards others. Even though there will be times when we fall short, we must repent and make changes. Don’t stay stuck in your own failures – we have faith that Christ has already paid the price of all our sins, and that includes those past, present, and future.
All good things, including our responsibilities (as tiresome as they sometimes feel)come from God. And if it is God who guides us, we will always be with Him, and be able to draw on His strength to fulfil these responsibilities, even in the deepest part of the journey. Sometimes even, God orchestrates the events of our lives so that events beyond our control determine our next steps. However, in all this, we are still called to fulfil our responsibilities to the best of our ability. For example, you may be fired through no fault of your own, and the next step (your new responsibility!) is to find another job.
However, God gives us the freedom to be faithful. We can choose to undertake the responsibility He gives us faithfully and willingly, or we could choose to grumble and get angry at God for it. Take it back to the job example, we now have a responsibility to write a resume, connect with others, and do our best towork, even if it’s less comfortable than our previous job. In all circumstances, we must take up our responsibility whether that be work, school, family, or anything else. Part of God’s guidance in our lives is allowing us to work in His time and will, even when we don’t want to and prefer to work in the job and with the colleagues we choose.
But even as we work towards our responsibilities in these circumstances, God uses them to shape us. Maybe this new job that God calls you in will change your career path or make you learn a new skill. It may bring to light in you a hidden talent or gift and or provide you with opportunities to serve God for years to come. We give God control of our lives even if we never really know where He will lead us next, because, if we trust in Him and His promises, we know it’ll be a place that is for our ultimate good. But that doesn’t mean our responsibility is over, and that we should automatically expect good things from Him and so not do our part. It is out of a heart that truly knows God, and has experienced the joy of His salvation for themselves, that longing and determination to persevere in the responsibilities He has given us comes.
We must also remember that God’s plans for each of us are different, and our responsibilities will often become much more personal, and target the deepest parts of our heart, because God deals personally with all of us.
So, Why Is Taking Personal Responsibility Important?
- God created each of us in His own image, and has a certain calling for each and every one of us.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
- Each of us will have to explain why we do what we do before God’s judgement seat.
“For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
- God’s grace for us is bought with a heavy price (with Christ’s blood)
“How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29)
- Each of us will receive a reward from Him
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
How Do We Become Responsible?
- We must know the will of God for our lives
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This means we musn’t forget to spend time studying and reading the Bible.
- We must follow the will of God
“But prove yourselves to be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). We must learn how to obey, even when it becomes hard, and feel impossible. But that’s not where this command ends. God doesn’t only instruct us to obey Him and that’s that, but He gives us the strength, willingness and joy to do it through the Holy Spirit.
- We must avoid sinning against Him
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). God promises us a way out so that we can resist temptation. We receive the strength to resist temptation because God has already saved us – we know that sin and death have no more hold over us.
4. The ultimate responsibility of Christians, wherever we are, is to be a light to the world
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). We must point people to the real light, Christ, and help them grow in their knowledge of Him.