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August 8, 2010
Who Is a Christian? 4
Christians have many dutiesfor which we are responsible. They are responsibilities not only affecting ourselves, but our relationships with our families, our friends, other people around us, and our God. Some seem to think that these responsibilities are difficult, too strict, and too much trouble, but when we truly understand our duties we find that a loving and faithful attitude toward God causes us to enjoy, as well as benefit from these responsibilities. We should look at them as opportunities to show our love and interest in others and most importantly in God.
Duties to Ourselves and Our Families
We need to understand that we have a responsibility to ourselves and our family. We have a material responsibility, a financial responsibility, a social responsibility, and most importantly, a spiritual responsibility.
We have a responsibility to ourselves to maintain our bodies as best as we can. Eating proper foods, exercise, and making use of the medicinal blessings God has provided are ways to do this. If we take care of ourselves, we can do a better job in serving God. In 1Timothy 4:8, Paul placed bodily discipline in its proper place behind godliness when he said, “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
We also have the responsibility to provide for our own. This is not just food, clothing, and shelter, but would include love and other necessities. Remember 2Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.” A passage which gives great emphasis to providing for one’s own is 1Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Failing to provide for one’s own as well as himself is a very dangerous sin.
We have duties to meet the social needs of our families, too. Generally speaking, Christians should have a good name among those of the world. The wise man in Proverbs 22:1 said that a good name is worth far more than great riches. This makes good character and a good reputation important for us is in the sight of the world. It is not that we should be favorable in their view because we agree with the evil things that they may do and say, but because they view us as righteous people, not willing to compromise the truth for error. Obviously this brings to mind that we are to have a good influence over those with whom we associate in the social realm. Peter discusses our attitude toward influencing our associates in 1Peter 3:15,16.
There are certain activities of a social nature in which the Christian should not be involved. Some of these would be taking part in anything or with any person that would cause the truth to be violated. The Christian would not want to engage in any activity that would place the Christian in an undesirable position.
The most important responsibility that we Christians have toward ourselves and our families is in the spiritual areas of our lives. Luke recorded the words of Jesus in Luke 9:62 when He said: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” In other words, if we are not interested in giving our all for Christ, and in turn receiving all spiritual blessings, then we are not fit for God’s kingdom. Consider the interest shown by the Bereans in Acts 17:11. We need to be like these who instead of taking the preacher’s word for it gave their all in pursuit of the truth. Hard work toward applying our study of the Scripture will certainly bring us on our way to a better understanding and a secure salvation (2Peter 1:5-11). We also find that He desires that we bear fruits of righteousness. If we abide in Christ, obeying His commandment, we will bear fruit for Him (John 15:1-8).
Duties to Others
The Christian has responsibility to those other than his family, too. The examples we set are very important. A bad example can take more than a lifetime to overcome. A good example can help lead one to salvation. We might never know the weight our influence carries with others. You may not think that anyone cares what you do or say, or pays attention to how you dress or the places you go. Never forget that there is always someone who takes notice of what you do, good or bad. Especially is this true if you claim to be a Christian.
Let us watch how we speak to and about others (James 4:11). Let us obey the rulers and laws of God (Romans 13:1-7). These are set up and cast down by God. Let us love others (Matthew 22:39). This is one of the laws of God that has stood since his first written law for mankind. If at all possible, let us be peacemakers and live peaceably with all men (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14). Let us seek the welfare of others (Philippians 2:4). This is not an excuse to meddle in the affairs of others and hinder them, rather to seek to help them. Above all things, let us teach them the truth (Romans 1:14,15). This will help us to secure our salvation as well as save their souls (Ezekiel 33:8,9).
Duties to God
Our main responsibility is to God. Actually, if we have kept the responsibilities listed above we have kept our responsibility to God as well. Consider what Jesus said about this in John 13:34,35. However, there are certain things that need to be discussed which pertain particularly to God.
We should have the proper respect for God. In Ecclesiastes 12:13, the Spirit through Solomon tells us that after all has been said and heard we are to fear God and keep His commandments. Our respect and fear for God should cause us to serve Him acceptably. Certainly we obey our parents because we respect them as our elders and as our keepers. We should have the same respect and more so for God (Hebrews 12:28).
Love cements our relationship with God. Certainly He has done His part to extend His love toward us. That this has been true from the beginning can be shown in a number of ways, but consider 1John 4:19 and Matthew 33:37,38.
God is worthy of our worship. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:23,24 that those that worship the Father will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. In Revelation 4:11, we get a glimpse at the worship given to the Lord around the throne. In this passage we see that He is worthy of our worship by virtue of the fact that He created all things and did so for His own good pleasure.
Obedience is another important responsibility we have to God. Many think that obedience to God is something that we can elect to do or not to do. It is not optional, it is mandatory if we want the eternal home in heaven (Matthew 6:24). Notice the terrible fate of Saul when he chose not to obey the Lord (1Samuel 15:22).
A faithful steward is found in the sight of God to be a great thing. In 1Corinthians 4:2, we find that being trustworthy is necessary if one is a steward. A steward is one who is a servant of another, or more correctly, one to whom a possession is given for safe keeping. Consider the parable of the faithful and wise steward in Luke 12:42-48.
Conclusion: If we are faithful in our Christian responsibilities, then we will be found in the sight of God a faithful and obedient servant whom He will regard greatly in eternity. These responsibilities can easily become a normal part of your everyday life if you will make them so. It is such a joy to please God!
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.