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Saturday, May 2, 2015

I Am Responsible

“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4a, (NLT).

We live in a quick fix society. We don't like to wait for anything. Patience is something that is foreign. Whatever we go through, if it involves any discomfort or pain, we want it to end immediately. Commitment and perseverance are virtues that have fallen by the wayside. “Superficiality,” writes Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline,” is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.”

Society also teaches me that whatever is wrong in my life, it is not a result of anything I have done. “Don't blame yourself,” society forgives, “someone else caused this to happen. You couldn't help it.” It is time that I take responsibility for what I am, what I believe, what I say, and how I act. I am not responsible for circumstances over which I have no control, and it would be self-defeating for me to analyze the cause of each one. But I am responsible for how I respond to failures, trials, problems and life. I am totally responsible for my reaction. I can't say as the comedian Flip Wilson once exclaimed, “The devil made me do it!” No, I made me do it. I am responsible. Against God alone have I sinned.

Spiritual growth in Christ is convicting. It doesn't allow me to make excuses. It tells me that I must take responsibility for my bad attitude or my fly-off-the-handle reaction. It means that I should learn from my failure, and make every effort to not create that circumstance again. Spiritual maturity also tells me that the next time I am faced with circumstances either of my own making or not of my own making, I will react in a mature way that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The only way that I can have the fruit of the Spirit alive in my life is to allow all the selfishness of myself to be crucified with Christ. When I am willing to make this selfless journey–when I am willing to accept responsibility for all that I am–when I realize that without Him I cannot become my true self, then I have begun the journey to grow deeper in Him.

“The desperate need today,” Richard Foster concludes with his thought about superficiality, “is not for a greater number of people or intelligent people, or gifted people, but for a deep people.” I want to go deeper into His Word, and His Truth. I want my life to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, and my mind to be renewed. I yearn for the virtues that Peter writes about in 2 Peter 1:3-7 to anchor my life—those spiritual qualities of diligence, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness, brotherly kindness, and love! 

Are you tired of easy answers that offer no lasting peace? Take responsibility for who you are, and ask Him to continually make you new. When commitment and perseverance are fully developed in your life, you shall be mature and standing strong in Him (James 1:4). You will know the freedom that comes with spiritual growth and accountability. No more masks to hide behind. No more trying to find a way to avoid what you face. You will know that where the Spirit of God is, you have been set free. And those who are free, are free indeed!

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