Personal Responsibility

by Dr. Mike Zachary

I believe in personal responsibility. It really upsets me when someone says, “I saw my neighbor walking by and I clobbered him—but it’s really my mom’s fault because she didn’t give me enough Vitamin D when I was in elementary school.” In this life, we are definitely responsible for our own actions. We are responsible for what we do, and we are responsible for what we think.

Having said that, I must remind you that we have an adversary. I Peter 5:8–9 tells us,

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

If we are not careful, we will become so wrapped up in the idea of personal responsibility that we forget about our enemy. For example, we are responsible for what we think; and when we have thoughts of doubt and discouragement, we are responsible to change how we think.

Sometimes, however, the old devil is whispering thoughts of doubt and discouragement in our ears. As humans, we tend to forget that the devil, who is invisible, is trying to play mind games with us. We can become confused and wrongly think that we are personally thinking the doubts and discouragement that the devil is whispering in our ears. When we do that, we tend to become further discouraged, thinking, “Oh, my goodness. Look at all the terrible things I am thinking.”

At the end of the day, we are responsible for the thoughts in our heads. When we ourselves think negative thoughts, we are responsible to rule over our spirit and change what we are thinking. Solomon wisely taught us,

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city (Proverbs 16:32).

When the devil is playing mind games with us, we need to fight our adversary, and take the advice that the Apostle Paul gave us:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)

Do I believe in personal responsibility? Yes, absolutely I do. But I also believe that we have an enemy. Keeping all this in mind can help us as we walk in the light of our Christian faith!

by Mike Zachary

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