The family party was winding down and I was helping my parents clean up the house. As I was clearing a table my father smiled and said to me, “You know son, your mother and I are very proud of how you behaved these past few weeks. You are treating your sister nicely. You are becoming more responsible!”
I was startled by the statement. I was only 9 years old and far from being mature or responsible. In fact, I was thinking that my parents wanted to scold me for not being kinder to my younger sister, a frequent sore point in our family. I was actually quite upset with her and was teasing her, even earlier that same evening. Naturally I was pleased by my parents’ comments, but there was a nagging doubt in my mind as I wondered what my parents would say if they could see the true intentions of my heart.
I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.
Jeremiah 17:10 (ESV)
If I were to judge my own actions, I fail miserably. I either downgrade my sins and faults or upgrade my good deeds. For much of my life, I followed this world view. I thought that if I would do enough good deeds, it would offset my bad deeds, according to some metaphysical cosmic scales of life. At the end of my life, if my ledger of good deeds surpassed my bad deeds, I would go to heaven.
That all changed when I was in college and I learned the truth of God through His Son, Jesus Christ. I understood that it was not about doing good works or behaving in a way that others would find acceptable, it was about placing my trust in Jesus, the only person who ever lived a perfect and sinless life. He lived and died on the Cross, paying the penalty for all of my sins and the sins of everyone who has ever lived and ever will live. How could He do this? Because He is fully God and fully man. He, alone, endured the pain and suffering of an eternity of sin and separation from God, so that I would never have to face this punishment.
Responsible? The most responsible action I have ever taken in my life is to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He knows my every thoughts and the true intent of my actions. Through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, He is slowly transforming me into the image of Jesus.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.