When is the last time you carefully clarified the responsibilities that God entrusted to you in each facet of your life as a child of God, wife, mother, daughter, professionally, financially, etc?
Those of us in the military context can certainly gain a fresh appreciation for the duties God has entrusted to our care. Doing so will enable each of us to clearly define where we need to joyfully and faithfully obey God versus concerns that are beyond our abilities and not our responsibility. The repercussions of such an assessment are pivotal not only in our personal lives, but also as we seek to minister to others as agents of grace.
In his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul Tripp addresses the topic of clarifying responsibilities in a marvelous way. He seeks to enable the reader to apply what she has learned to the context and relationships of her daily life. The graphic below has blessed me tremendously over the years in so many areas of life as I seek to evaluate what is truly my responsibility, versus what is a deep concern that should be a matter of prayer that I entrust to God.
Can you envision the dangers inherent in not recognizing and fulfilling the God-given responsibilities God has entrusted to you? God gave each of us clear “job descriptions” via His Word and we are called to obey (for instance, Eph 5:22, Mark 12:30-31, Heb 13:17). Sometimes we may be tempted to use “trusting God” and “waiting for God to act” as a procrastination technique when he has clearly given us direction in his Word about what to do! Clarifying our responsibilities will help us to identify this and confess where we have sinfully failed to obey God.
However, not rightly identifying areas of concern and seeking to shoulder responsibility for things I have not been called to do can easily lead to controlling thoughts and attitudes, discouragement, fear, unrighteous anger and more. This is because I am in effect trying to be God in an area that is beyond my control or area of responsibility. Sarah in the book of Genesis is a good example of moving beyond her realm of responsibility and ceasing control of things she should have entrusted to God when she sought to give Abraham an heir through Hagar her servant (Genesis 15-21).
Ways to reflect, change and grow in light of these truths...
Pray each day this week, and ask God for clarity regarding areas of responsibility versus areas of concern in your life (James 1:5).
Using the inner oval in the graphic above, take a moment to identify the roles God called you to and the situations you are in the midst of right now. What does God call you to do as wife, mother, friend, sister in Christ, church member, etc? By God’s sovereign design, what circumstances are you in right now and how does God want you to respond to the situation?
Using the outer oval, identify what is important to you, but are beyond your control to bring about. Some examples may be the salvation of a family member, where you will be stationed next in the military, healing from sickness, a rebelling older child, etc. Commit these things as matters of faithful prayer, recognize your limitations, but revel in our faithful, sovereign God who is working all things in accordance with his will (Ps 18:30, Acts 17:24-28, 1 Thess 5:24, Deut 7:9).
Consider reading Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp. It will equip you to identify where you may need to change, and help others to do the same in a loving and gospel-centered way. Also consider reading Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. He faithfully talks about God’s sovereignty and our responsibilities in a powerful way.
If you are having genuine difficulty sorting out concerns versus responsibilities, please seek out a mature sister in the faith. These types of Titus 2 relationships are means of God’s grace to help us to grow in holiness and together in Christlikeness.
By God’s grace, may we as military sisters live out the words to the hymn “Trust & Obey” and truly be happy in Jesus,