Being responsible is something a lot of people don't seem to know much about. Too many people feel they are somehow entitled to have the right and privilege of success without doing anything. But we cannot obtain anything in life apart from our obedience to God.
Being responsible means being intentional, and that means being active in what you're passionate about. Jesus encouraged people to stay active in things that would prepare them for their future.
Being active in studying God's Word will help us to become more responsible. We cannot do what is right if we do not know what is right. If you have been doing nothing much to help yourself or other people, then get up and get going because the longer you do nothing the less you will want to do.
The Bible provides some pretty specific instructions for us to follow. Among them are actions such as praying, reading the Word, being a blessing to one another, working with our hands, minding our own business, not gossiping, judging or criticizing. We are encouraged to forgive, refuse to be offended and reject resentment or bitterness. We are certainly taught to be responsible, active and to do our part in every way we can. The more active we are in obeying God, the more our joy and peace increase.
Unfortunately, I observe that many people do not accept responsibility for what they do or acknowledge that their life's outcome depends on their actions. I was once somewhat like that. I spent years feeling sorry for myself, but I was really just avoiding responsibility. Although it is easier to follow our feelings, it takes spiritual maturity to do what Jesus would do in every situation. He certainly would not waste His time feeling sorry for Himself.
He didn't feel sorry for Himself when Peter denied Him or when Judas betrayed Him. He did not feel sorry for Himself when His brothers were ashamed of Him or when His disciples disappointed Him in His most difficult time. Jesus continued being responsible for what God had called Him to do, and He kept His eye on that, even when others walked away.
When life or people disappoint us, we have a responsibility to remain stable and continue with God's purpose for our lives. We will not be held responsible for what other people do, but we will be held responsible for ourselves. I certainly don't want to stand before God and be asked why I wasted my time in self-pity.
I encourage you to take responsibility for your emotional responses to life. Even if your emotions want to sink, you can call on God to lift you up. He will give you the strength to remain stable.
The Bible reminds us that, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that you may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked" (Ps. 94:12-13, The Amplified Bible).
This Scripture does not say that God keeps us calm. It says He gives us power to keep ourselves calm. We are partners with God. His part is to give us ability and our part is to be responsible.
Responsibility means to respond to the ability we have. An irresponsible person wants God to do everything while he does nothing except follow his feelings. You should declare out loud right now, "I have attended my last pity party." I can promise you in the end you will feel much better about yourself if you take responsibility than if you avoid it.
Life isn't always fair, but God is. The reason you must take responsibility for the outcome of your life is that nobody cares about your life like you do.
Of course God cares, but He won't do your part. He enables you to do it, but let me emphasize that He won't do it for you! I dare you to stand firm, take responsibility and begin working with God to have the best life you can have.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, I Dare You (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at charismamag.com/meyer.
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!