By Dr. Randy Carlson
When I was a kid growing up, I remember a saying that hung over my dad’s desk. It’s often referred to as the serenity prayer: “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
The law of change says nothing stays the same. Everything either grows stronger or weaker. In physics, there’s entropy which is the tendency for things to go from strength to weakness. We often can see in our own lives.
You’re not the same as you were yesterday. We all experience little changes each day of life, and we often can’t perceive them until we see a photograph, or a health report, and we go back and take a checkup. Then we realize how much change has occurred.
The reason we focus on the things in our life that we can’t change, like the mess in Washington, DC, or a spouse’s bad attitude, the jerky person that we work with, or the stock market is because in that moment, we are no longer responsible. But ask yourself this question: What is it in my own life that I need to change or should change? It’s at that moment we become intentional.
Change starts by first taking 100 percent responsibility for our thoughts, actions and attitudes. It requires changing our thinking, our attitudes, and our behaviors. This theme of the failure that many of us have – and let’s face it – many of us do – is we fail to take personal responsibilities for our lives.
When you think about it, we grew up in a time where it’s hard for us to take personal responsibility. In fact, our culture does anything but take responsibility. Every group in our culture points to another, saying it’s their fault. We need to have the courage to change, and until we accept the reality of this law of personal responsibility, we cannot fully mature into a spiritual and relational point of being an adult.
Christianity is not a passive religion; it’s an act of faith. The Bible uses words like choose, defend, fight, forgive, love, plant, seek, teach, train, visit, worn, work, and worship. The Bible is full of verbs that demonstrate a very active faith. God’s design for us is to be intentional in taking these verbs and living them out:
- When we’re obedient to know what the scripture teaches about how we’re to treat our spouses, there’s a payoff for that.
- When we’re obedient to be intentional, to take the verb, and we use the verb, and we act on that verb in our lives, when it comes to how we live, with our finances or with our faith or our health, there’s going to be a payoff for that.
- There’s always a positive return on investment for being intentional.
Accepting personal responsibility should cause us to have the courage to change by facing the reality as it is today, resulting in actions that will glorify God and bring benefit to ourselves.
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