With Great Privilege Comes Great Responsibility

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. 

Blaming God

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?

  1. 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). 

  1. 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).

  1. 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)

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

    The Search for Extending Grace

    “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 

    (1 Corinthians 1:4)

    When was the last time you showed your appreciation for God’s grace in someone else’s life? 

    God’s grace in our lives and the lives of others gives us the chance to celebrate and rejoice together. It is so important for us to celebrate and rejoice together, and we can do this by searching for grace in each other. After all, grace is the basis for a Christian life, and it is what we search for in Him everyday. Without God’s grace, our faith wouldn’t be strong. We believe it is through grace and faith that He has saved us. 

    It is so easy for us to rejoice over God’s righteousness in our own lives, but it takes a completely deeper level of love to rejoice over God’s goodness in another person’s life. 

    Opportunities for us to celebrate someone else experiencing God’s grace are all around us, yet we just never seem to notice and take action. We can rejoice over a mother who gets to foster, adopt, or take care of a child who has special needs. We get the opportunity to rejoice when we see someone who is on the road to recovering cancer.  When we see a teenager who’s overcoming depression, or a friend who’s finally giving Christ a chance.   

    God’s grace and love can be found in all things, granting us endless opportunities to rejoice with others; but we must be no stranger to them. As teens, we must not only focus on the grace given in our own lives but also of that experienced in other people’s lives. Such shows that we are not self-centred and allows us to love others by realising God’s work in other people and celebrating with them their experience with God’s grace. 

    Now, why is recognising God’s grace in others and extending His grace in our lives important? Here is 3 reasons why:

    1. This grants us grace and makes us aware of the different ways God can work.

    God works with different people in different ways. When we hear or read  testimonies of how God has changed their lives with his grace, we also receive His grace through others. Our hearts get touched by other people’s stories and we get reminded of how good God’s grace is. Sometimes we learn more from other people’s experiences than our own. If God gives us the opportunity to learn and be reminded of His grace when we recognize  it in other people, we must take advantage of that opportunity. After all, this opportunity helps us to know God and learn the different ways He works.

    1. This shows God’s love to others and builds our character to be more Christ-like. 

     “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” Luke 10:21  

    Jesus rejoices when he sees His Father showering His grace to His children. Seeing the Father’s free enlightenment and salvation for those whose only hope is free undeserved grace, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit  in the Father’s grace. Having this heart that rejoices in God’s grace in other people’s lives comes as a result of knowing Jesus and becoming more like Him.

    But it doesn’t stop there. We’re not only called to rejoice when others receive grace from God, but we also can be a messenger of God’s grace to others. We can show God’s love for us to our brothers and sisters in Christ by listening to their situations, stories, thoughts, or just making them feel seen. Giving a warm smile or wave is a good start to make them know you are open to listening to them. When God sees you doing this, He and His angels will rejoice with you. 

    1. Strengthens our faith and other’s faith.

    When we see God’s  grace in others, our faith grows in Him. When we share our testimonies with others, their faith will grow. Especially when we share testimonies to those who haven’t given their life to Jesus and may not even  know a thing about God, these stories impact them the most. In these testimonies, they are confronted with  the reality of  God’s grace and love which drives them to come to Jesus. 

    God has already done so much for us, we are granted heaven and endless forgiveness, and the least we can do is extend grace to others. Extending grace to others saves them. It could change their life forever. Don’t you want to be used by God to save someone’s life? When we see an opportunity to extend the grace given to us to others, are we willing to take it?

    The Bible says that when a person gives His life to Jesus, and experiences the supreme grace of salvation, all heaven rejoices. The grace of God is the greatest gift we can experience and when we extend God’s grace to His other children, all of heaven rejoices. That is why, the search for grace and the act of extending grace, is very important not only to us, but to His plan of salvation. 

    How can we extend grace to others? 

    Extending grace to others can be hard especially when the person is so unlovable. We would prefer that they get what they deserve. But that is not what the Holy Trinity did. 

    The Holy Spirit reminds us in his Word that we didn’t deserve grace either, and  we didn’t receive what we actually deserved because Jesus took on the penalty for us. We can find this a helpful way of looking at the sometimes difficult task of extending grace to others. On the days that we are acting the most unlovable, grace is what we need more than anything. When someone offers us grace instead of what we actually deserve, it makes our unlovable attitude powerless, and overcomes all negative things including arrogance, and instead humbles our hearts. Grace changes us, our attitude and our way of thinking. That is the very gift we can give to the people around us. It is by receiving grace   we can extend grace to others. Yet something important to remember is that it all starts with our own relationship with God; it starts with how much we know and seek God. The more we know God, the more we want to experience his grace, and be the ones chosen by Him to give grace to others. The ultimate aim of God’s grace is that through it, we can come to know Him and His nature more and more. We must search for grace, and we must extend it. That, after all, is the will of God. 

    God’s Not Done With You

    Now we all make plans regarding the future right? But not every one of our plans turns out exactly like we hoped. People, situations, and opportunities have an impact on us. Every decision we make, good or poor, has an impact on whether or not our plans are successful. However, I must point out that our plans are based on how frequently they do not align with the gospel, how often we have our own interests in mind, and the different circumstances we’re in.

    What we think is best might not be what God thinks is. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He also knows us better than we know ourselves, yet we still continue to follow what other people are doing, or what we think is good for ourselves. So, what does God say about his plans for us? 

    Let us turn to Jeremiah 29:11-14,

    11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”’ (Jeremiah 29:11-14, NIV).

    God’s plans for you are final; they are great and never change. 

    Can you recall the number of times our plans or thoughts for the future change? We realised that our most recent plan did not fit our liking, so we created a new plan that we probably will change again. We modify and forget about the plans we recently had. Sometimes our plans change because of certain circumstances. If a certain thing didn’t happen, our old plan would still be on track. But God’s plans never change, regardless of our decisions, thoughts, or any flame of evil running into us. His plan is going to be successful no matter what. Nothing can stop him. He’s going to finish what he started. 

     “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    He works in ways that we will never be able to guess or understand. If we trust God with all our hearts, we won’t lean on our own understanding. When we don’t lean on our own understanding, we will acknowledge God. If we acknowledge God, He will direct our paths. If he directs our paths, we can rest in the knowledge that he will give us a hope and future.

    The destiny of Israel was in the hands of the Lord. No matter what they had in mind or the decisions they took, God’s plan for them remained the same. His plan of action was firm. God caused the Israelites to experience a situation through Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and its temple, which caused the Israelites to once more cry out to God. In order for the Israelites to once again call out to God and turn back to God, God made use of their time in Babylon, he made them go through persecution to make them realise sin and rebellion have negative impacts. But he was never done with them, he never thought of disappearing.

    God’s love and promise of a future and hope for those who are faithful and call out to the Lord are made clear in both the Old and New Testaments. Although, in God’s sovereignty, he allows us to make poor choices and disobey Him. This is a way for us to learn and grow from our mistakes.  Even if we have turned our backs on Him, He does not abandon us permanently.

    His desire for you is to give you hope and a future, not to harm you. All who look for God and call upon the name of the Lord have that hope and future. The future is unknown to all. We all make plans even though we don’t know what the future holds. But, that doesn’t mean we should abandon making plans. Instead, our plan must be solely dependent on God’s, and God’s plan is not influenced at all by us

    “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

    It is important that we understand that this verse does not imply that you will not suffer from physical harm, illness, failed relationships, loss of employment, or any other disappointments that may befall you in this life. As compared to physical blessings and futures on earth, this word refers to spiritual blessings and plans of God that are greater. It is a word that reflects a future and a hope for God’s people (Christians) God just works in ways that we humans can never guess or understand. 

    God’s plan is worth the wait; be patient.

    Avoid attempting to force your plans or rush God’s timing and plan. All throughout the Bible, God expresses a longing for the redemption of all people. His purpose is for all the  people of God to have an eternal life and connection with Him. The same is true of God’s goal for you: to advance and mature in your relationship with Christ. He has always had a plan to give you hope and a future. This hope and future can only be found in Jesus, as He  is the source of hope for the entire universe.

    You won’t always be in this situation. Look to the Lord, for that is where your hope and help come from. Your future is in the hands of Christ, not with the things of this world, therefore look to Him.

    Regardless of your mistakes, things that you can’t control, or troubles you come across, God is in control and will redirect you to the great plan he has for your life.

    Persecution’s Purpose

    Do you know the difference between suffering and persecution? Suffering falls upon everyone like mental illnesses, diseases, hardships, and pain. However, persecution is when people suffer because of their beliefs and faith. Every single person living in this world has suffered, but not everyone has experienced persecution. The big question is why do Christians experience persecution? Hasn’t Jesus already dealt with our pain on the cross? If God is so good, why are his people still suffering? Has he deserted them? 

    Why don’t we look at the Bible for the truth and answers to these questions? 

    “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 

    (2 Timothy 3:12 NLT)

    “Jesus Himself said that those who follow Him will be persecuted for His name’s sake.” (Matthew 10:22)

    For the glory of Jesus, we are invited and granted the privilege of persecution. Let me explain the meaning of persecution so we are all clear about what the word means. 

    Persecution can be described as harassing, oppressing, or killing because people choose to obey Christ over human law or to please humans. This definition always reminds me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as they didn’t bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar II and then were thrown into a burning furnace. (Daniel 3)

    For Christians, this means we can be persecuted for our belief in Jesus when we decide to follow Christ over this unholy and sinful world. Although the majority of us may not be murdered because of our beliefs, we might fear being ignored, despised, attacked, or shamed. 

    But what’s the point of persecution? Why are we “granted” the opportunity to be persecuted for His name’s sake?

    3 Advantages of Persecution

    1. The Gospel is preached, and the Church grows.

    The church grows along with persecution. There are so many instances of doubters who, after experiencing persecution, ended up turning to Jesus. Suffering and persecution of Christians from generations ago drive Christians nowadays to spread the Word of God. Everyone’s experiences are totally different, when you experience suffering you are enabled to tell the gospel from a new point of view allowing you to touch and reach many more lives than if you hadn’t experienced it. It may even convince people to believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour. 

    1. Preserving persecution can form your character to become more like Christ and allow you to experience Christ in a new way.

    Our patience while suffering builds character and inspires us to hope. When we struggle, we are inclined to have faith in God, and that’s what brings us closer to God in addition to being more like his son. The moment we are persecuted, we can rest in the thought that Jesus understands our pain because he himself went through all the suffering that we experienced when he was a human like us.

    1. Going through persecution glorifies God and develops your spiritual strength.

    Isn’t our purpose in life to glorify God? 

    “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 

    (1 Corinthians 6:20

    Therefore, whatever we do, whatever we go through, we do it for the glory of God. God is able to demonstrate his power through our weaknesses. Because of this, when we face persecution, we can rely on the Lord and have faith that He will carry us through. If God led us in it, he’s going to lead us through it and bring us out of it. 

    Jesus assures that those who go through struggles on earth will be blessed in heaven. In the middle of our persecution on earth, it’s valuable to keep in mind that this is not where we will wrap it up; rather, God will grant us the reward of persecution.

    What does the Bible say about the reward of persecution?

    “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” 

    (Revelation 2:10)

    “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 

    (Matthew 5:11-12)

    How do we continue to live through persecution? 

    1. Brush up your mind.

    During times of suffering, we must visit the Word of God. Whenever we can hear, speak, and find the Word of God, we must ask Jesus for help to let those words sink into our minds. To make good choices, we need the truth stored in our minds. We need the Word of God stored in our minds every moment of our life, for we can never guess what is coming next.

    1. Promise to God.  

    In your heart, promise God that whatever happens, you wouldn’t turn back from him. Ask God to protect you like how a shepherd protects his sheep. Request strength and patience to deal with all the suffering. Come to God first, not last.

    1. Look at things from an everlasting point of view. 

    According to Ephesians 6, our battle is not with people of flesh and blood, but rather “against the rulers of the darkness of this age.” Once we are familiar with persecution’s purpose and stand firm with the Lord, we receive ultimate victory. 

    Now the bigger question is: are we willing to stand firm for our faith and commit to God even when the world’s weight is on our shoulders?

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