I heard a funny story of an old married couple talking in the car after eating out:
Wife: “Oh bother, I left my sunglasses on the table…”
Husband: “How could you forget your glasses at the restaurant?”
Husband: *sigh* “Let’s go get it… you are so irresponsible!”
Wife: “I am sorry!”
Husband: “While you’re in there pick up my credit card and hat”
Do we have a double standard when it comes to responsibility?
What does it mean to have personal responsibility?
How do we respond to things that happen?
Responsibility is a duty and a job. We have a duty to respond to life circumstances in a proper Godly way. Am I taking responsibility for the quality/direction/outcome of my life? The lives of family members?
Personal responsibility is a choice. Adam and Eve did not hold to this standard: God expected them to take personal responsibility but they failed and could not have imagined the consequences of their actions.
“Mom – my teacher said I was the most responsible in the class!”
“Wonderful! But wait… what did she actually say to you?”
“The class was in chaos all day, and she always told me I was responsible!”
Responsibility is the foundation of our identity.
Deut 30:11,15,20 – you’ve got to make the choice.
You can know people, families, and groups by what they do and the choices they make. Israel lost their identity by making the wrong choices.
We tend to hide from our wrong choices, but we ARE accountable and need to take personal responsibility. When we hide from responsibility, it takes several forms: forever students, living in parent’s basement for life, never counting the cost and moving forward in life, etc…
Do we really believe we can do all things through Christ’s strength? Perfect love casts out fear, but we fear ALL the time! We see ourselves and others always trying to justify our stagnation: “I am the way I am because of ____” [passing the blame]
In group situations, you can clearly see the diffusion of responsibility quite often. [i.e. news stories of nobody helping a trampled man in NYC, because it’s always someone else’s responsibility]
“O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks! Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle. But you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.” – Phillips Brooks
Sometimes we are tempted to cry out, “stop the world, I want to get off!” Life can be depressing, difficult, and often times we just want to quit, run away, or escape. We try to immerse ourselves in various vices to distract ourselves: TV, shopping, drugs, video games, etc… We escape any responsibility for our lives, and sit in misery as our willpower to change dwindles.
We fantasize about differing life circumstances, believing that things would automagically change:
“If [circumstance] would change, then I’d be happy”
“If I could find a spouse, then I’d be happy”
If we’re not happy now, circumstances won’t change that! The time is NOW to take personal responsibility and change your attitude and perspective on it. Our identity is found in Christ, so circumstances cannot dictate who we are!
“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” Gal 6:4
This is not an admonition to be overly prideful, but to take stock of yourself, and accept the responsibilities that are our own, along with acknowledging that you are fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose only you can fulfill.
How often do we feel sorry for ourselves? Does that affect our identity?
What determines my feelings when bad things/feelings happen?
Do I allow a way of thinking or a label to dictate actions?
How easily can we harbor guilt or grudges?
How easy to admit we’re wrong?
“If I could kick the person in the butt who is responsible the most for my troubles, I wouldn’t be able to sit for one week” – Teddy Roosevelt
Do we glorify God in our bodies/vessels/temples?
Do we give God glory for all good in our lives?
“…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15) Following God’s laws fulfills our responsibility to God and man. In so doing we love God; love man, and thus fulfill our personal responsibility to ourselves.
We can determine the direction in our lives for better or worse. Now is the time to reorganize goals, and cease hiding behind masks in our life! Choose to put on the new man! Take the responsibility to put away our old self and put on the mind of Christ. (Eph 4:22 – 5:2)
Let our works speak life; this is our responsibility to others. Let us put away the old man; this is our responsibility to God and ourselves.
Let us take control, get the help we need, and give it all to God. Be accountable to God, to ourselves, and to others, and live and abundant life!