Life Greatest Ability - Responsibility

Bible Book: Romans  14 : 12-13
Subject: Responsibility, Personal; Accountability

What is your greatest ability? Your greatest ability is responsibility. You have the ability to respond to life. Much about life you cannot control. You can control how you act; how you respond. Our creator tells us we are responsible for how we respond to life.

Romans 14 is all about responsibility. The situation involved a debate over food laws. God tells us two things in this passage.

We will have to give an account of ourselves before God. Vs. 12.  We should consider how our response to life affects others. Vs. 13. Today, we will study a lesson in taking responsibility by looking at:

  • Attacks on responsibility.
  • An appraisal of responsibility.
  • Applications of responsibility.

I. Attacks On Responsibility

A. Rights Mentality

Our society is overdosing on personal rights. We hear a lot about rights but very little about responsibility. We hear a lot about entitlement but very little about obligations. We hear a lot about choice, but very little about commitment.

B. A Victim's Mentality

None of my problems are my fault.

My problems are your fault.

Several examples demonstrate this. A federal agent embezzled $2000 from the government, then lost it gambling in Atlantic City. He was fired but is re-instated after the courts ruled his gambling problem was a handicap and as a handicap is protected under federal law.

Fired for consistently showing up late for work, a former school district employee sued his former employer arguing he is a victim of "chronic lateness syndrome."

A young man in Farmington, Massachusetts stole a car from a parking lot and was killed while driving it. His family sued the proprietor of the parking lot for failing to take steps to prevent such thefts.

C. An Entitlement Mentality

The world owes me. The problem used to be people had struggled with being "their brother's keeper". Now, people struggle with being their own keeper. Someone else should do it. Time magazine called us a nation of "busy bodies and cry-babies."

II. Appraising Responsibility
A. Why Is Responsibility So Important?

The passage in Romans answers that question. Verse 12 tells us that we must answer to God. This life is a dress rehearsal for eternity. We have two purposes on this planet - to know God through Jesus Christ and to develop character. What does God care about most? Your achievements? Your bank account? Your comfort? The answer is your character.

Once Christ becomes your Savior the issue becomes what you do with what God has given you. God has made an investment in us. He has given us great opportunities. God expects a return on his investment. God is going to do an audit on your life. How have you used your talents, money, time, relationships he has given you?

Daniel Webster said, "The most important idea I ever thought was the day I realized I am personally and individually responsible to God for how I live."

B. My Life Affects Others Vs. 13

God does not want us to be simply independent from one another or totally dependent on one another. We are to be interdependent. We need to be careful where we get our mission for life. Sammy Davis crooned, "I've got to be me." Billy Joel sang, "I don't care what they say! This is my life." Frank Sinatra intoned, and Elvis repeated it, "I did it my way." The basic idea here is - I am going to live life my way no matter how it affects others. Every decision you make affects someone.

A great illustration of this is the recent episodes of "Seventh Heaven." A personal issue is other people's issues as well.

III. Applications of Responsibility

A. In Financial Matters

There is no area where we as Americans are more in bondage than in the area of financial matters. We are a nation drunk on instant gratification. I've got to have it and I've got to have it now. Buy now; pay later. Because of this, the average American puts $1300 on credit cards for every $1000 he makes. You are acting like the government when you do that. The difference is you don't have a money machine out back. Someone asked John D. Rockefeller how he became so wealthy? He replied, "It's real simple; I give the first 10% as a tithe back to God. I save 10%, and I live on the other 80%.

B. In Emotional Matters

Learn to control your emotional reactions. We normally express our reactions through our words. Jesus said that you and I would be responsible for every careless word they've said. Responsibility is putting the mind into gear before the mouth. When people make you angry what do you do? Blow up? Clam up? Grow up?

C. In Mental Matters

Protecting your mind is important. The mind is the gateway to one's life. You can't help random thoughts that invade your thinking. You can help the things you dwell on. You decide the things you give attention to.

D. In Spiritual Matters

We need to admit when we are wrong. True confession before God is the most important issue in life. Then, we need to forsake the wrong. And, we can finish it off correctly by accepting God's forgiveness.