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"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands ... so that you will not be dependent on anybody."1

One of the great principles we need to emphasize to keep our society healthy and productive is the principle of personal responsibility. It's a principle that needs to be programmed and engrained into our belief system. It needs to be taught and demonstrated in the home and at every level of society.

If people don't believe they are responsible, they will not behave responsibly. If they believe they are responsible, most will consistently act and behave responsibly.

Obviously, we weren't responsible for our upbringing but we are fully responsible for what we become. The world doesn't owe us a living. As the Bible teaches, if we refuse to work we shouldn't eat.

Furthermore, when we repeatedly do anything for others that they can and need to do for themselves, we can make and keep them over-dependent, immature and irresponsible. It is not the loving thing to do. It is being irresponsible.

I remember reading about some sea gulls in a fishing village that, for many years, fed on the scraps the fishermen left. When the fishing industry in this place closed, the sea gulls had forgotten how to gather food for themselves. They died of starvation.vThe same principle applies to people. When we do things to keep them over-dependent, we destroy their growth and maturity. It's the same with God, he will bend the heavens to touch the earth to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves—such as paying the penalty for all our sins by dying on the cross at Calvary in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins—but, while he has promised to give us wisdom and guidance, he won't do for us what we can and need to do for ourselves.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me always to be responsible for my actions and not expect others to do for me what I can and need to do for myself. Also, please help me not to take on anyone else's responsibilities and thereby keep them over-dependent on me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NIV).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.