Our Problems and Our Responsibility
The first factor we looked at when considering the three factors that are involved in every problem and situation that we face was, Our Problems and God’s Sovereignty. The second factor in the trials and problems (and the good stuff) that we experience in life is our own responsibility.
We make choices every day and it is often our own choices (or lack of choices) that play into our problems. If I impulsively gamble all my money away I cannot blame God or anyone else for my own folly. I am ultimately responsible for my own choices and their consequences. Proverbs 19:3 states, “A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.” I have worked with people who continue to make poor choices for their life and yet they shake an angry fist at God for their situation.
Another way our human responsibility comes into view is the role we play in bringing about the positive things that happen for our life. I work with singles that have a strong desire to be married and some will tell me that they do not feel that God is blessing them with a mate. However when I probe as to what they are actively doing to meet people, I will sometimes find that they are not really doing much of anything. To those who are very socially inactive and not putting themselves in a position to meet people I might say something like, “Even though I know that God could miraculously bring someone into your life, the chance of this happening while you are repeatedly sitting in front of the television with the remote and a gallon of ice cream is much more unlikely.”
Finally, we need to consider and work on our own personal issues that lie beneath our situations. Several years ago, I was working with a man who had a lot of deep personal and relational issues. In addition to much pent up anger and bitterness he had significant challenges in relating to people and getting along with others. As a result, he had been through several jobs due to simply quitting or being let go because of his poor attitude and actions. One day as we were talking he stated that he was not seeing God’s blessing in his life. God was not blessing him with a steady job and a successful career. In the midst of our discussion on God’s blessing I pointed him to his own responsibility in the balance by stating, “Even if God were to graciously bless you with a job, you still need to be able to keep it. You still have the responsibility of dealing with any underlying issues and problems that hinder you from getting along with others and maintaining relational peace in the workplace.”
As we look to the underlying factors of the problems that we face we cannot neglect looking at our own responsibility in the mix of life. To fail to look at ourselves may ultimately lead to a victim mentality and blaming God and everyone else for our situation in life.
Next I will focus on factor #3!