Have you ever done something you wish you’d never done? If we’re all honest, we can say that we have. We can’t blame our actions on anyone else—no matter if we feel somebody pressured us into it. How we act or react to a circumstance or someone else is always a choice we make. “We are each responsible for our own conduct,” Paul wrote (Galatians 6:5, NLT).
We need to take responsibility for what we believe, what we say, how we act, and how we react. We’re responsible if we cause a bad circumstance, and we are responsible for how we respond to any circumstance. We are responsible for our actions and reactions.
What we believe is who we are. Believing the Word is essential to living responsibly and denying human feelings. When we believe in who we are in Christ, we are secure in our relationship with Him no matter what occurs or what someone says. It is our choice what we believe. We either believe the truth of God’s Word or we don’t. We either allow the Word to renew our minds or we don’t (Romans 12:2). We either live by the faith that is ours in Christ or we don’t (Galatians 2:20). We either speak His Word—His life—to our circumstances or we don’t. We experience the results of what believe and what we speak (Proverbs 23:7, 18:20).
Spiritual maturity comes when we grow in the knowledge of our identity in Christ. It creates the desire to act responsibly, but we make the choice. If we react badly to the ugly actions of others, then we alone make that choice. Either the grace of Christ within us is greater than someone’s actions or it is not. When we become like the person who has offended and caused pain, then we offend and cause pain in return. What someone has done may need to be addressed. How it is addressed makes all the difference in whether what we say will be considered or not. If we respond out of our feelings of hurt, then we hurt in return. If we respond out of our identity in Christ, then we respond with His concern for the other person’s welfare. We forgive as we have been forgiven.
Spiritual maturity teaches that the next time we are faced with difficult circumstances we have created, we will take responsibility for them. And when faced with circumstances, not of our own making, we will choose to act and react with the grace of Christ. We have the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and His power to live it. Only God changes hearts. We choose to let Him continually change our hearts. He deals with the hearts of others. Against the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, evil has no power (Galatians 5:22-23). Christ has overcome. Let Him overcome in us.
When we desire more than anything else to know the complete difference Christ has made in our lives—when we yearn to understand this new person His grace has created, we choose to surrender to His truth. We hunger to know His Word and who He says we are. We thirst to live His life instead of our old one. We receive the knowledge and wisdom the Holy Spirit imparts to a surrendered heart (Ephesians 1:17-18). And with His truth and grace, we choose to take responsibility for our lives. The life we live we live by faith in Him (Galatians 2:20).
Choose for your thoughts and your attitude to be continually changed by the revelation power of the Word. Discover the freedom that comes with knowing who you are in Christ. You can be honest and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). There are no masks you have to wear (2 Corinthians 3:18). Where the Holy Spirit is, you have the freedom to not be controlled by hate or anger or bitterness or pain (2 Corinthians 3:17). You have the freedom and the faith to believe God’s truth, and you have His power to act upon it.
When you believe Christ paid it all and no one owes you anything, you are free to love as Christ has loved you. You forgive because He forgave you. Freely you have received. Freely give (Matthew 10:8).
© 2022 Lynn Lacher