Irresponsibility manifests itself in many ways. Some people are irresponsible with time. They are habitually late for engagements, causing other people inconvenience as a result. Or they procrastinate, putting off doing what they know they ought to do. Others are irresponsible with material objects. They borrow things from others and either forget to return them or else let them become damaged while in their possession. Or they may take poor care of their own possessions, letting their homes and workplaces get messy or run down. They forget that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” and that we are to “be sure that everything is done properly and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
Some people seem to be negligent, careless, and inconsistent in every area of life. Should you depend on them to fulfill what they promised? You had better not. Should you trust them to help you out if you are not keeping an eye on them? Certainly not.
What’s behind all this is usually an attitude problem, whether it goes by the name of apathy, boredom, or lethargy.
We need to sense that our lives are a part of the great story God is writing in history! We need to understand that by obeying Him in our duties and relationships we are helping to build an everlasting kingdom! With the right perspective, our attitudes can change from apathy to enthusiasm. And our sin habits of irresponsibility can be replaced by the virtue of diligence.
If you have an ongoing problem with some type of irresponsibility, what we are not asking of you is some type of resolution to do better. We are not asking you to force yourself to do better on the job, at home, or wherever you tend to be irresponsible. If we asked this kind of self-effort from you, you would likely be no more successful than the people who show up at the gym with brand-new exercise clothes in January hoping that this is the year they will finally get in shape, only to discover in a month or two that they have lost their motivation, discipline, or desire.
What we are asking of you is that you begin praying for help and committing yourself, in the grace of God, to fulfill the responsibilities He has laid on your heart. Seek the Lord, repent of your sin, and rely on the Spirit’s empowering. Only in this way will you be able to acquire the virtue of diligence—and keep it. Begin the healing process by embodying the virtue of diligence in every responsibility the Lord gives you. It is a privilege to serve Him with all that lies within us.
The preceding article is an extract from Chapter 18 of Soul Prescription by Bill Bright and Henry Brandt. To purchase the entire book or e-book click here.