Response Ability

I learned a lot during my time as a student at Rhema Bible Training Center. One of the things that stuck with me the most was what a teacher told us in regards to being a local minister. He said that it’s easy to lose focus in ministry because of different stresses, so we have to be clear on what is our responsibility and what is not so that we can tackle what we need to and let other things be handled by others. That didn’t seem like a crazy thought, but then he clarified:

“Being responsible means being able to respond. Responsibility is the ability to respond.”

This simple concept floored me. I nodded and said “Mmm, that’s good.” like a good charismatic christian, and even though I grasped it in class while he gave the lesson, it began to blossom exponentially inside me as time went on. I don’t remember the teacher’s name. I’m fairly certain his name was Tony, but it might’ve been something else. Bro. Tony had pastored in a small town on the East Coast before coming to teach at Rhema. He was a big guy with an obnoxious twang in his voice. He’d joked about not being very smart, but he’d dropped a bomb in me when he explained what God had taught him on the responsibility of a minister.

response ability. response ability.

It started with him saying that ministers run the risk of burning out if they don’t keep themselves in check when it comes to taking care of their responsibilities. They feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, but can only do so much. In doing as much as they can, they can drop the ball in other more crucial areas of their lives. Yes, there’s sacrifice involved in being a man or woman of God, but there’s a difference between sacrifice and waste. You can’t change everything, so focus on where you can make a difference and let God use you. He was warning us about burning out and letting our own zeal and ambition take the place of God’s purpose in our life. When he had finished his lesson, he dismissed the class and moved on. A lot of his class was practical advice for future pastors and ministers. That’s how it started, anyway. It ended up being something that would rise up from my heart and occupy my thoughts when I was alone or quiet.

response ability. response ability. What is my ability to respond? What is a response? Just ‘cause I have the ability to respond, does that mean I should? Does could equal should?

This is something that applies to every single person who calls Jesus Christ their savior. He gave us the ability to respond to the world around us like He would. He put His Spirit in us for us to draw on, like tipping a glass up so we can take a drink. Jesus gave us victory in life, plain and simple, and that is not responsibility like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker about. Yes, it’s great power, and yes, the responsibility is great, but it’s not a weight to be borne, it’s a position from which to act.

response ability. response ability.

When you have a bad day at work and you want to do something about it, but you don’t seem to be able to respond to that anger and frustration, and it pushes you and influences you to take it out on your liver or the server at dinner or your family, guess what? You have the ability to respond.

When financial stress is growing and you feel overwhelmed and it seems like you cannot respond to that fear and those urges to give up or lash out and do something underhanded – you know what? You have the ability to respond!

When a sickness invades your life and you know you have an uphill battle ahead of you and you just don’t know how to respond to the attack of the devil – you guessed it! You have the ability to respond!

response ability. response ability.

Jesus showed us how to respond to the enemy in the beginning of Luke chapter four. Every time the devil came to Jesus, He responded with: “It is written…” This is how we should respond. This is our ability to respond to the world around us. That is what a response is. A response is a word or string of words. God created the entire universe by His word and he protected man from being cursed for all eternity by His word and we respond to the world around us by our words. You’ve been given responsibility as a believer, and it’s the responsibility of True freedom. You get to choose in every situation how you respond: along God’s guidelines or in line with the impulses of your dead nature?

response ability. response ability.

I mentioned earlier, too, does could equal should? The simple answer is yes, and I’ll get into in my next piece, but you need to reflect on this: am I living up to my potential? You could be. Are you making good use of all the victory and power God put inside you when you became inside Jesus? You could be. You know the world around you, and that’s what you must respond to, but, do you know all the ability inside of you to respond? You could. And you SHOULD! Listen, taking on more responsibility sounds like an unwanted task to most, but in Christ, it means moving to the next level of freedom in your life. It is what Jesus called His “light” burden. It is not cumbersome or something to be dreaded. It simply means you can respond to more of the world around you, instead of being another cog in the machine controlled by the world around you. That’s freedom.

If you’re ready to grow and can take on more responsibility, read the first Psalm and the first chapter of Proverbs in your Bible. Ask God to show you something there that you can use to respond to the world around you as you go about your day. Start there, and continue in your Bible reading and continue to grow and take on more responsibility.

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