Applying the Character Quality of Responsibility

Responsibility vs. Unreliability

3 min

Responsibility is knowing and doing what God and others are expecting of me.

The Biblical word duty describes the concept of responsibility. It is translated from the Greek word opheilo and means “to owe” or “the goodwill due” to another. In the New Testament, the word opheilo is also translated as ought, due, need, owe, and bound.

Duties That Are Our Responsibility

  • Paying on a debt of loveOwe [opheilo] no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
  • Supporting faithful ministers“It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty [opheilo] is also to minister unto them in carnal things” (Romans 15:27).
  • Protecting weaker believers“We then that are strong ought [opheilo] to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).
  • Giving love in marriage“So ought [opheilo] men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28).
  • Being thankful for believers“We are bound [opheilo] to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth” (II Thessalonians 1:3).
  • Suffering for believers“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought [opheilo] to lay down our lives for the brethren” (I John 3:16).
  • Caring for children“The children ought [opheilo] not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (II Corinthians 12:14).
  • Walking in Christ’s love“He that saith he abideth in him ought [opheilo] himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6). “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought [opheilo] also to love one another” (I John 4:11).
  • Providing hospitality“Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers … . We therefore ought [opheilo] to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth” (III John 5, 8).

Personal Accountability for Responsibility

An important aspect of responsibility is being personally accountable for our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and motives. These are to be consistent with the commands of Christ, because in the final judgment they will be exposed and evaluated. Responsibility is doing what I ought to do even when I don’t want to do it.

Responsibility is doing what I ought to do even when I don’t want to do it.

Our Thoughts

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).

Our Words

“Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36–37).

Our Actions

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10).

Our Attitudes

“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile” (Psalm 34:13).

Our Motives

“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10).

Personal Evaluation

  • Do you determine to set aside any personal pleasure that could cause a weaker brother to stumble or be offended?
  • Do you fulfill all your responsibilities in marriage?
  • Do you look for practical ways to lay down your life for fellow believers?
  • Do you accept personal responsibility for all your thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes?
  • Do you purpose to fulfill your responsibilities to train up sons and daughters to be mighty in God’s Spirit?
  • Do you show responsibility for the practical needs of believers?
  • Do you take responsibility for your own health and well-being in order to better serve the Lord?
Explore more about this topic in The Power for True Success


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