The Bible tells us ‘the just shall live by faith” and “faith is the victory that overcomes the world” but there are also things the Bible tells us we must do for ourselves. We count on God and it is grace that reconciles us and redeems us but we are to be responsible to the Lord.
What is our responsibility? What are the things to which God calls us throughout the revelation of His will and purpose that we need to do for ourselves?
- We need to watch ourselves. The King James version of the Bible says “take heed” to ourselves. Positively, we are responsible for ourselves. There are a lot of old sayings that find their root in this responsibility. ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse.’ ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew.’ ‘Watch where you’re going.’ We are not aimless or accidental in our living, but we do indeed watch where we’re going. We are aware of ourselves. We’re honest about what we can do and what we can’t do. This keeps us from thinking too much or too little of ourselves. This keeps us from doing an abundance of stupid things or from falling into temptation. The scripture becomes our guide and point of reference so we can say with the Psalmist, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
- We humble ourselves. We do this under the mighty hand of God. We do this through prayer and fasting. We do this by admitting our wrongs and submitting our rights. We do this through serving others. We understand the “why” of life and therefore align ourselves appropriately to walk uprightly and confidently with God and others. When we are at liberty to do this one thing everything else becomes possible. Nothing is too difficult when we overcome the difficulty of humbling ourselves rather than having someone else do that job for us.
- We love ourselves. Taking responsibility for this is the means to love others. Loving ourselves gives us the recognition that we all feel like strangers sometimes. We all have borne the burden of being subject to another. We all have experienced the awkwardness of being less than what we want ourselves to be or have caught ourselves in trying to be too big for our britches. We love ourselves and we want what is best for ourselves. Though, we fall short of what is best, loving ourselves allows us to see that as a unique creature we are like all other unique creatures: we are to live responsibly, to love the Lord deeply, and to love our neighbor uniquely.