This year, I made a promise to myself to read the Bible every single day. I started in January and am continuing to read scripture daily. It’s been a wonderful experience, and each Saturday I wanted to share some of my thoughts as I have been reading the Bible. I will return back to my business and marketing posts on Monday.
In graduate school I had a marketing instructor named Dr Jobe. What I liked about Dr Jobe was that he had real world experience, and he was happy to help his students prepare for the next stage of their lives and career.
One day after class I was walking to my car and Dr Jobe was parked along the way and he chatted with me about what my plans were after grad school, etc. He was a consultant (this was back when consultants actually consulted with companies), and he said that when he met with a client for the first time, he would talk to them about expectations. He said he would ask them “Are you ok with learning that YOU may be the problem?”
Are you ok with learning that you are accountable for your own behavior? It’s so easy to find the fault in others, but when it comes to us, often we don’t want to admit we have work to do as well. We can often easily find the blame in the actions of others, but not as easily in ourselves. We are often quick to blame others, and even quicker to offer excuses for our behavior.
One of the overarching themes of the Bible is accountability. We are all accountable for our own actions. And by design, man will sin, it is inevitable. And the Bible is clear, that the wages of sin, is death. This is why Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was necessary. His death claimed our sin. Our sins are a debt that we cannot afford and which we cannot carry into Heaven.
But in allowing Himself to be crucified, Jesus paid our debt for us. He covered our sin. If we agree to give our life to Jesus, He will pay our debt for us, and we can then go to Heaven.
However, we still have to be accountable for our actions. Especially moreso if we are Christians who have given our lives to Jesus. The writings of Paul to the churches makes this clear: As Christians, we have to be accountable for our actions and our behavior. In fact, our behavior is held to an even higher standard because of the path we have chosen.
How we view this depends on our own perspective. We can see this as a detriment, as if we have more work to do! Or we can view it as a privilege, we have more expected of us, because we are capable of so much more because God is with us.
As I have been reading the Bible, one of the messages I keep going back to is the thought inside my head that ‘this has to lead to a change in behavior’. It’s not enough to simply be inspired by the Bible, I have to apply the teachings to my life, and let it lead to positive change. Whenever I speak at an event, I want to inspire the audience, but more importantly I want to inspire the audience to take action. It’s one thing to have someone stop me in the hallway and tell me they loved my presentation. That’s very satisfying and humbling. But it’s quite another thing to get an email from someone who heard me talk a year ago, and they wanted to tell me about the changes they have made at their company as a result of what they learned from my presentation.
It’s the difference between being inspired, and being inspired to change. I think Christians have a responsibility to our chosen faith to be accountable for our actions. When we agree to give our lives to Christ, we have received a gift that we cannot possibly repay or deserve. But what we can do, is treasure that gift and be accountable for receiving it. By accepting the gift, we become accountable for it. We take on additional responsibilities. And we should do so willingly and happily.
When Dr. Jobe took time out of his day to talk to me after class, he was stepping into his role as a teacher, as an instructor. He was understanding that his gift came with a level of accountability, and that accountability didn’t end when his class ended. It was with him always, and as a result, he was able to continue to make an impact on his students, even after his ‘official’ work was done.
It’s the same with Christians. We have been given the greatest gift of all. And with that gift, comes amazing accountability that we must demand from ourselves, because it will be demanded of us. We shouldn’t view this as a burden, but instead as an incredible privilege that we willingly accept out of a sense of appreciation for what we have been given.
A second chance.