When your kids frustrate you. Trust God. When your boss doesn’t agree with you. Trust God. When a friend forgets to call you… again. Trust God. If you’ve lost your job and can’t find another. Trust God. When you feel overwhelmed. Trust God. When your schedule is out of control. Trust God. If you and your spouse just aren’t communicating. Trust God. If you feel constantly worn out and tired. Trust God. If you lost your temper yet again. Trust God. If life is just a constant struggle. Trust God.
The Blame Game
Unfortunately, our first reaction in trials, tests and temptations isn’t usually trust. It’s blame.
We blame our kids for being disrespectful. We blame our boss for not listening or micromanaging. We blame our friends for being selfish or too busy for us. We blame employers for being too picky about qualifications. We blame the government for taking our job away. We say life is just too demanding, others are constantly asking too much from us, and our spouses are just distant. Besides, we can’t help losing our temper… we’ve always had a bad temper, and we always will. Not our fault.
The blame game can be very easy to play. Too easy. When blaming others doesn’t work, we blame God.
“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15)
Blame avoids getting at the root cause, the desires that entice us. As a result, blame avoids taking responsibility.
Responsibility is hard and uncomfortable. Taking responsibility means admitting we’re at fault. It means admitting the need for us to change. Focusing on blaming others also takes immense energy and holds off victory in our lives.
When we decide to take responsibility, we finally experience true growth. We discover true freedom as the chains of blame fall away and victory becomes a reality.
Taking responsibility also shows integrity, which makes following Christ more appealing to non-Christians. It’s a conscious choice we must make over and over again but one that pays big dividends — freedom that leads to victory.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
When we take responsibility for the role we play in trials, tests, and temptations, we show trust in God. We show we trust that He has equipped us with the gifts, abilities, and experience needed to struggle to victory. We also trust that He’s doing the same for others, too.
Taking responsibility also shows trust in the testing of your faith. Trials, testing and temptations help us grow by first showing us how we’re doing and then by increasing our endurance.
“…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)