I Am Responsible

The following post comes from an article I wrote for my church’s weekly newsletter but because it was related to the series I have been writing on Ephesians, I thought those who have been following my thoughts might appreciate this piece.

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As a church family, we have been exploring Paul’s description of the mission of God. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul will set forth what God has done for us in Christ in the first three chapters, in chapters 4 through 6 Paul will list a patchwork of virtues, dispositions, habits, and actions, God seeks in us because of what he has done for us in Christ.

These virtues, dispositions, habits, and actions will cover everything from how we treat one another, including those closest to us, our families, but it will also deal with values as personal as our sexual ethics, how we choose to use our language, or how we express our anger.

One thing remains clear: while we cannot save ourselves–this is the work of God–we are responsible for what we do with the salvation God has given us.

Responsibility may well be the missing virtue of our time. We always seem to have an excuse, a rationalization, or someone to blame so that we don’t have to feel the full force of personal responsibility. We become so good at (accustomed to?) using such tactics that we sometimes are unaware that we are using them.

M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, attributed much of what we call mental illness today to people’s mishandling of responsibility. According to Peck, neurotics take too much responsibility (often over other people), while psychotics take too little (even over their own lives). I’m sure Dr. Peck would add that things are more complex than this, but he is on to something.

Still my mental health is related to the level of personal responsibility that I take over things that are truly mine. As the Serenity Prayer reminds us, there are some things you can’t change and some things you can. May God give us power to discern between the two.

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2 thoughts on “I Am Responsible”

  1. Good thoughts, Stan. Who hath thus inspired you to write what I was looking for today? I am preparing a lesson for this Sunday where I want to address the matter of the tension between faith and works salvation and, more specifically, the tendencies we must watch out for if we lean too far in either direction. It needs to be pretty abbreviated as it needs to be said in two languages. But I think I will gain by incorporating your 1st and 3rd paragraphs.
    This too: I will pass on the link to your blog today to our recent crowd for the ABSS (Advanced Bible Study Series). We had one speaker doing Ephesians and another doing God’s Mission. So your comments mesh those together well. (Paul B in Belgium)

  2. Paul, Thanks for the kinds words; as for inspiration, I will give credit to the One above. I’m glad to hear that what I have written is edifying and useful.

    Please pass on to anyone you think would benefit. I pray that God will continue to give you power so that you might know him.

    Stan

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