Freedom and Responsibility

One of the most basic truths in Scripture is the doctrine of personal responsibility. It’s founded on the idea that God created us as free moral agents. He gave us a free will. In fact, everything we do is of our own choosing.

Along with this freedom to choose, however, He has also given us the responsibility to use that freedom properly.

Deuteronomy 30:19 expresses this truth clearly. God is speaking to Moses and the children of Israel before they enter the Promised Land: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

In effect, God was saying: You have the opportunity for life or death, for blessing or cursing. Your destiny is your responsibility. The destiny of your children is your responsibility. I have given you every opportunity for success. Now you are responsible to make the correct decisions and obey what I have told you.

God gave us freedom, but He also gave us responsibility, and clearly the human race has encountered a few challenges when it comes to making the right choices. These problems didn’t start with Moses and the children of Israel, but in the Garden of Eden at the very beginning.

Adam and Eve—along with their children—were the first dysfunctional family on earth. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them parameters against which they promptly rebelled. As our creator, God has every right to tell us what to do. When we forget, we just as deceived as Adam and Eve were in the Garden.

Here in the United States, we tend to obsess over personal rights, including the right “to be happy.” I have heard Christian wives and husbands justify their affairs or divorces by explaining they “have a right to be happy.”

Some even tried to convince me—in addition to their mates, children, and families—that God gave them a partner for adultery because He “knew I was unhappy and my needs weren’t getting met.” Talk about deception!

Our freedoms as Americans and as children of God are precious, but they must be balanced by personal responsibility. We are responsible to obey God regardless of the sacrifice required or the persecution we must endure.

Paul wrote, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20). The next time we balk at obedience because of what it will cost us, we should remember what it cost God to set us free from sin. We were bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.

We must also remember that what God tells us to do is good for us and will bless our lives. His parameters protect us from harm. We can choose life and blessing…or we can choose to pursue death and cursing. He has given us a choice.

God loves us more than we love ourselves. By obeying his commands, we will enjoy lives of freedom, peace, and fullness of joy. Don’t balk at taking responsibility. Embrace both the freedom and the responsibility God has given you, because that is the path of success in your life, your family, and your marriage.

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