He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.
God’s detailed plan for your life–a plan that includes even your failures–doesn’t mean that you are not responsible for your actions. How can we possibly reconcile God’s absolute power over our choices with our responsibility for those choices?
God’s power does not exempt you from responsibility. We are ultimately responsible for the actions and the choices we make. Two statements cast further light on that.
First, Scripture says we must make wise choices. Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to tell the story about a young man who came up to him and said, “I so believe in the sovereignty of God that if I stood in the middle of a busy highway and my time had not yet come, I believe God would miraculously deliver me.” Dr. McGee replied, “Son, if you stand in the middle of a busy highway, your time will have come.” God doesn’t call on us to do foolish things. Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.”
Second, we must still suffer the natural consequences of our choices. For example, Christ’s death was part of God’s eternal plan, yet God had to use the sin of other people to accomplish it. In Acts 4, Peter strikes the perfect balance between sovereignty and responsibility with this observation: “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (vv. 27-28). Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews made the decision to reject Christ and crucify Him, and they had to suffer the consequences of their decisions. Yet their actions were part of God’s sovereign plan to accomplish the redemption of mankind.
Similarly, we are ultimately responsible for our choices and may have to experience the consequences of wrong choices—such as divorces, job terminations, bankruptcies, bad health reports—even though these things were included in God’s master plan for our lives.
You may be thinking, “How can God be in charge of everything, and yet I make choices for which I’m responsible?” How can we reconcile God’s sovereignty with our responsibility? The honest answer is, “I don’t know–and neither does anyone else.” Ultimately there’s no way for finite minds like ours to understand how God can be sovereign and we can be responsible. This is an important truth that we have to leave in the mind of God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Although the Script’s Been Written, You Can Still Improvise” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.