Featured Message: Blessings Involve Personal Responsibility

In this turbulent, anxiety-filled, stressed-out world it is indeed a wonderful blessing to possess a calm, stable, peaceful mind and spirit.  These are wonderful blessings that God truly desires to give each of us.  There is one gift God gave to humanity that supersedes all others.  The incomparable gift of free will and its attendant responsibility is the portal through which all blessings must flow.  It is also the portal through which correction, chastisement, and cursings flow.  The exercise of free will ultimately is a matter of cause and effect.  There are spiritual laws ordained by God which are as iron-clad as the laws of physics, such as those that govern motion and gravity.

On one hand, it is correct to say that God is all powerful and the Creator of all things.  There is only one thing He cannot create on His own—good character.  Character is a person’s distinguishing nature, the sum total of his or her moral strength and integrity or the lack thereof.  Character is arrived at through the exercise of free will.  Other than Jesus Christ, no human being has possessed perfect character.  That truism is what made Christ’s death on the cross absolutely necessary in order to obtain salvation and eternal life.  The wrong use of free will results in sin, requiring forgiveness.  This process is generally well understood by Christianity.  Many people talk about the “gift of grace” and give short shrift to the idea of personal responsibility, as if the two are mutually exclusive.  Because of this, a great number of Christians are miserable, depressed, anxious, worried, and stressed out unnecessarily.

God Cannot Bless Disobedience and Rebellion

Many Scriptures illustrate the spiritual laws of cause and effect that God Himself established.  We ignore these Scriptures at our own peril.  Here are a few:

  • James 2:14, 17: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?”  “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
  • Romans 6:1-2, 12: “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live anymore in it?”  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
  • Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
  • II Corinthians 9:6: “But this I say:  He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
  • Proverbs 22:8: “He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow…”

Scripture makes the point very well.  The exercise of free will has consequences.  God cannot and will not bless sin and negative behaviors.  He will forgive if we are serious about repentance.  True repentance must accompany forgiveness, and repentance means change.  Change involves effort resulting in better character.  God understands the human frame and condition.  Speaking of Jesus Christ, Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Though Christ understands what it is to be human, He still will not bless or condone sin.

God Seeks Our Character Growth

Christ explained the parable of the sower for us in Matthew 13:18-22: “Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is he who received seed by the wayside.  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

He put the burden of responsibility squarely on the Christian’s shoulders to overcome sin, persecution, and the cares of this world to produce good character based upon the seeds of biblical understanding.  He concludes in verse 23: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Are we good, fertile ground for the word of God?  By choice, too many Christians present Christ with soil full of rocks, thorns, and thistles.  We choose to allow evil into our lives with very little or no resistance.  Examine your life to see how compatible it is to what Christ would desire in our minds and hearts.  Is our time occupied with violent, perverted television programs, movies, and games?  Are we choosing horror shows, depraved comedies, or the occult?  There are various genres of entertainment that Christians should choose to stay away from.  Anything to do with witches, warlocks, sorcery, violence, lewdness, or the degradation of women and family have nothing in common with Christianity.  Too many Christians allow these into their lives by choice and wonder why so much in their lives is going wrong.  How can we seek forgiveness and how can we ask for healings, peace, and joy when we present Christ such unwholesome soil?  The choices we make have consequences.  What are we listening to?  What are we watching?  What are we playing?  What are we saying?  What are we thinking?  It is up to us to gain self- control as we seek mercy and forgiveness.

God is very eager to bless us in countless ways, but we must show a desire to please Him.  We must demonstrate through the exercise of our free will that we are interested in His way of life.

For further study, you may request “Let Your Garden Grow,” “A Woman Works in the Garden,” and “Becoming Inured to the Point of Our Own Detriment.”