Living the Christian life can be summed up in the words of an old chorus: ‘trust and obey’. That becomes clearer when we hear what Paul Tripp says about Responsibility and Concern. Responsibility refers to those things that God has called me to do that I cannot pass on to anyone else (for example, my responsibilities as a husband, father and Christian). The only proper response here is to seek to understand what God is asking of me and to obey faithfully. Concern refers to those things that concern me but are beyond my ability to control (for example, being loved by my family, seeing my children saved, knowing success in ministry), and so are not my responsibility but God’s. I need to identify these things and entrust them to God.
We can run into trouble in two directions. We can expand the ‘circle of responsibility’ as we try to do God’s job for him. Or we can shrink this circle as we expect God to do our job for us. Actually, what happens is that we often do both at the same time. So, if I begin to act as a mini-messiah, trying to do God’s job, it will inevitably lead to discouragement, frustration and failure. At the same time, because I am focusing on doing God’s job I will leave undone the things he has given me to do. I can trust God to empower me to do the things he has given me to do, but not to do them for me!