Last time we talked about our responsibilities as a Christian, to be the church instead of just doing church. This week I would like to discuss your personal responsibilities as a Christ-follower. We are responsible to do the ‘works of Christ’ as a Church, that is to be the church, but we are also responsible for our personal lives, and how we live out our faith. God will hold us to account for how you lived according to your faith, not the faith of your family (Romans 14:12).
You are responsible to give to others of your time, resources, and abilities. God has given these to you, not for personal gain or selfishness, but to bless and build up others. We must be focusing on others more than ourselves, allowing God to take care of our needs through His resources and the resources of those around you. Stop spending so much time and energy on what you want, and take more time on helping others!
a. of Time
Time with God is the prime responsibility of every true believer. What that looks like for you will be different than for others, but you must take time each day to spend with God. This time should include scripture study, prayer, listening, reflecting, and worship. Personally, I like to spend a little bit of time doing this when I first get up in the morning, and then a bit of time doing this just before going to bed. That way, I start the day right, with my focus on God, and end the day well. Devotional materials can be helpful, but they should never replace reading the Scriptures for yourself. Journaling or note-taking is a great way to get your thoughts written down, and keeping them in your memory longer.
Time for God is an investment that is easy to give, caring for the needs of others without the expectation of affirmation or repayment. Taking the time to help someone in need, like the good Samaritan, is a great way to demonstrate the love of God.
b. of Resources
Giving of what God has given to you for the work of God, with no need for reward or recognition is also a prime responsibility of every Christian. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Jesus told several parables about the wise use of our resources, especially to invest in meeting the needs of others.
c. of Care
Each of us is to care for our families, both physical and spiritual. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” We have also been commanded to use what we have to care for the needs of our ‘neighbour,’ as has already been mentioned. This care includes physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs.
d. of Gospel
The best way we can show love to another is to lead them to Christ, to help them see their need for salvation (Matthew 28:16-20). This not only fulfills the great commission, but also shows that we care enough about that person to want to see them saved. Jude (1:3) reminds us of the need to ‘contend for the faith,’ which means to convince and to urge. The time is short and the need is great.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13).” We have the responsibility to confess our sins to God, to demonstrate agreement with Him about our sins, and to confess our sins to each other for visible accountability, which helps us to learn to resist that sin in the future. James reminds us (James 5:16), “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Everything we do, not just our good deeds, needs to be motivated out of love for God and others. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).” The greatest of commands given to us by God was the command to love (Luke 10:25-37), and one of the ways we demonstrate love for God is to love our ‘neigh
bour.’ The motivation of love for God is the reason we do ‘good works,’ but is also the reason we seek to rid our lives of sin. Our hearts must be right for the good things we do to be building up treasure in heaven, but failing to do the good God has called you to do is sin (James 4:17)! Of course, our greatest motivation for all we do, the greatest demonstration of love for God, is obedience to His commands, submission to His will (Luke 6:46).
We must also ensure that our focus is on God’s priorities for us. Peter tells us, “Be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall (2 Peter 1:10).” When we refocus, our sanctification also trains us to replace fear with power and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Again, our focus should be on God and others, getting rid of all selfishness and fighting our evil desires. Like Peter, we need to step out in faith onto the water, and learn to walk on the water with Jesus, not allowing the storms and waves around us to distract us from the power Jesus wants to give to us.