Living From Our Morals (Part 2)
“For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:5
In today’s BLOG post I am going to continue on with my topic of Morals. You can read last week’s post about STANDARDS HERE. Today I want to talk about the five areas of life we should take responsibility for. A big difference between adult character (being a true “grown-up”) and juvenile character (acting like a child) is the ability to be responsible. But why is responsibility such a big deal? Why should we try to become more responsible as we “grow-up”? Consider the difference between Irresponsibility and Responsibility. As you read through the list, think about people you know in each category – who do you want to spend quality time with? What do you-yourself-want to be known for?
MEASURE THE DIFFERENCES
- Selfish others centered
- Irrational wise
- Untrusting trustworthy
- Inconsiderate considerate
- Excuse ridden strong
“Real responsibility is an issue of strength”
Being Responsible Requires Us to Be Strong in Five Areas
A strong person is responsible for his/her ACTIONS
Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
We live in a culture that passes the blame on to others. We live in a culture where many people (youth and adults) refuse to OWN their actions. A few years ago I got busted for this. Here’s the story (I must admit, I was pretty foolish). Okay, we have a nice little garden in our backyard that sits up against our privacy fence. Behind the fence is an open field that stretches along the back of several businesses. The field is overgrown weeds with a lot of trash and debris scattered through it. Well, as our garden would grow and some of the produce of it would drop to the ground I would pick it up and sling it over the fence (it never occurred to me that anyone would care). As luck would have it, someone did care; the owner of the auto parts store cared a lot. In fact, he cared so much that he came over to my house one night and confronted me on it. Now I’m faced with a decision – pass the blame or own my mistake. I owned it. I apologized and guaranteed I would clean it up – like I said I felt very foolish for my actions but I had to own them. A strong person will be responsible for their actions.
A strong person is responsible for his/her ATTITUDES
Proverbs 18:20 (NLT)
Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.
This point really demonstrates the difference between ADULT character and juvenile character. Consider this, life sucks and we will have bad days from time to time. However, we are responsible for our attitude. The adult response to a bad day is we still need to show up with a positive attitude.
I remember a lesson I learned several years ago while I was still in college. I was working at a restaurant as a waiter and I become good friends with the chef. One day one of the other waitresses came into work late and after “clocking in” she started waiting for her tables. As the evening went on the chef noticed that she was spending too much time at the tables talking with the guest. Upon asking her what the problem was he found out she had just been dumped by her boyfriend before coming to work – she was very sad, and she was sharing her day with the dinner guest. After getting reprimanded by the chef (Jeff), he came over to me and gave me this advice that I have never forgotten. Jeff said; “Terry, remember this when a guest comes into our restaurant they have their own agenda (conversation with each other and a quality meal), they don’t care about you or what kind of day you are having. Never share your personal life with the guest, this is not the place for it.” Jeff was right, we will all have bad days and we need to process our bad days; nevertheless, we also need to be responsible for our attitude. When bad things happen in my life I cannot take it out on others.
A strong person is responsible for his/her Friends
Proverbs 20:6 (NLT)
Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?
We don’t always like to admit it, but our friends are a big influence on our life. Therefore, it’s important to surround ourselves with godly, wise, and responsible friends.
Again, in college, I was confronted on this by my roommate. He noticed that my attitude had changed and he attributed it toward the friends I was hanging out with. He was right and this is what he told me:
1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
A strong person is responsible for his/her ABILITIES
Matthew 25:23 (NLT)
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have abilities that are God-Given. Many years ago I took a Strengths Profile Test that revealed to me what my top five strengths are and how I could leverage them in my various areas of life. Here’s the key, my strengths define me. I could look at others and think I want to be more like them and work toward being more like someone else – but this would end up being a big waste of my time and energy. Instead, I can discover who God created me to be and focus on sharpening my skills, abilities, and talents.
If you have not taken a Strengths Profile Test you can find it here.
A strong person is responsible for his/her ASSETS
Proverbs 11:28 (NLT)
Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.
Several years ago I had saved up several thousands of dollars and started dabbling in the stock market. I had some up days and down days as the market goes, but for the most part, I was turning a profit. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. However, things changed really quickly when we had some unforeseen medical bills come up that we had to pay for and what’s more, just as I paid off the medical bills the economy crashed and my thousands of dollars were literally gone – POOF! I don’t write this to share a sad story but to highlight the point – we cannot trust our finances. Now as a couple, we have tried through the years to not carry any credit card debt, to pay all our bills in a timely fashion, and to work each year at being more giving. When we choose to be responsible for what God has given us financially it alleviates a lot of stress from our life. But, we also realize that God is the provider of everything we have so we trust in times of plenty and in the lean years too.
Strength is seen in…
- how we live
- how we respond
- who we hang out with
- what we’ve been given
- what we acquire
Responsibility Action Steps
- Find a model of RESPONSIBILITY – who do you know that is a responsible person, learn for them. Setup a few meetings with them to ask questions about living responsibly.
- Begin taking responsibility for your PAST and FUTURE
- Commit to trusting God one SITUATION at a time
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6