Why You Should Stop Being Responsible and Start Being Faithful

by | May 31, 2022 | Faith, Worry | 41 comments

God blessed me with a godly and kind mother-in-law. When her independence began to wane, Larry and I invited her to live with us. Having lived hundreds and then thousands of miles apart, we sincerely welcomed the opportunity to have her in our home. However, she wouldn’t consider leaving Arizona.

Larry sent monthly checks to help her fill the gap in her living expenses, but we didn’t know what we’d do when she required full-time care. Our ministry income wouldn’t stretch to cover that expense.

Larry and I felt a level of responsibility to ensure Grandma was well taken care of in her latter years. Perhaps because our visits were spread out, we recognized her decline better than she. When she refused our offer of a place in our home, we didn’t know how to fulfill our duty and desire to help her. God used this incidence to help us learn the difference between being faithful and being responsible.

Being Faithful Versus Being Responsible

Being responsible as in “being reliable or dependable” is good and godly (Psalm 15:4). For our purpose, let’s call that faithfulness.

  • Faithfulness is doing our best in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.
  • Being responsible is taking responsibility for the results or outcomes beyond our resources or control.

Losing my mother as a teenager accompanied by my father’s paralyzing grief amped my firstborn sense of responsibility. I equated being responsible with being dependable. But when being responsible means depending on myself and my resources instead of relying on God it’s unhealthy and ungodly.

When being responsible means depending on myself and my resources instead of relying on God it’s unhealthy and ungodly. #Faithful, #Faithfulness Share on X

This kind of responsibility steals our peace and joy. It puts the focus on our efforts instead of on God’s faithfulness. This sense of duty doesn’t allow mistakes or rest. It leaves no time to notice God’s everyday provisions, let alone savor them. The responsible person jumps from one challenge to the next, always on duty, not trusting others to share the load.

The faithful work hard, but they also know when to rest and recharge, when to put human needs before the goal, and when to celebrate small wins. They know God is big enough to take care of them and their future.

Being faithful and being responsible may look similar, but the difference is vast and eternal. For example, consider how these different viewpoints affect even our interpretation of scripture.

Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8, NASB).

The Responsible Responds: “It’s up to me to…”

  • Predict possible troubles.
  • Prepare for the unknown.
  • Take care of myself and loved ones.

The Faithful Responds: “He is able to…”

The Bible says the righteous live by faith. A life filled with faith produces faithfulness. God calls us to be faithful stewards whose security rests in our faithful Provider not in our storehouses. Many times after Larry’s efforts to raise ministry funds appeared to fall short, I’ve seen God reward his faithfulness by providing funds from unexpected sources.

What’s the difference between being responsible and being faithful? 

  • The responsible person works for tomorrow but misses today’s joy.
  • The faithful person prepares for tomorrow while enjoying today.

Remember Larry’s mom? When dementia set in God provided a wonderful place in her beloved Arizona that didn’t require a penny more than the sale of her house.

With skyrocketing prices and rumors of greater shortages, it’s tempting to worry over tomorrow and miss the joys of today. Consider your concerns. Will you look to your efforts or God’s faithfulness to carry you through?

The difference between being responsible and being faithful is the difference between heaviness and joy, self-effort and faith. We can practice faithfulness because He is faithful.

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful …. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21 ESV).

Exciting Announcement

Could your weakness be your invitation to experience God’s strength? Stay tuned for the upcoming release of Little Strength, Big God the end of this summer. If you haven’t already, subscribe to Refreshing Faith and stay updated.

Summer Zoom Group for Women

Our summer online study begins Tuesday June 7th. We’ll meet from 7-8:30 p.m. EST on Zoom. I’ll email the lessons out each week. We’ll be looking at various Scriptures concerning what it looks like to return to God. Contact me if you can join us.

Click here to add your thoughts.


Debbie Wilson

Photo by Azzam Qourti on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory and here , #Let’sHaveCoffee#Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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    • Debbie Wilson

      Just for you, Ashley, 😉

    • TLC

      Ashley, same here!

  1. Tracy

    Hi Debbie, I’m visiting from “Tell His Story” linky. Wow, its like you have walked into my head and heart and tidied up and now I know what was wrong, and how to move forward. I feel so responsible in a situation, but also so unable and the frustration and sense of failure sets in. Thank you for posting this. It has encouraged me greatly. Also, I will be adding this post to my list of favourites. Its a place where I can always find those posts that mean a lot to me, and hopefully others will find it too, if the Lord so chooses.
    God bless

    • Debbie Wilson

      Tracy, it thrills me to hear it resonated with you. Blessings to you.

  2. Jan

    Loved…”heaviness or joy”. The choice is ours!

    • Debbie Wilson


  3. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, I so appreciate how you differentiate between being responsible and being faithful. There’s a balance, I think, between doing what we can (our role) but also trusting God to fulfill His role in our lives. I’ve been the one who’s stepped over the line and tried to control His role. Silly me. I’m learning to stay present and to choose faithfulness.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I think for those who care this can be a challenge. Others may struggle with not caring enough! Thanks, Jeanne.

  4. Barbara Harper

    I am a firstborn as well, the oldest of six, the chief babysitter for years. This is such a good distinction between faithfulness and responsibility. It lifts such a burden to remember that God is the One in control, the One who provides, the One who enables.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, my mother used to apologize to me and say, “you know we learn on the firstborn.” When I brought home my second born, my firstborn suddenly no longer seemed like a baby. There are a lot of blessings that come with that place, but I do think we often tend to carry a deeper sense of responsibility we have to learn to trust God with.

  5. Lynn

    “They know God is big enough to take care of them and their future.” Amen! I hadn’t considered the differences between faithfulness and responsibility so thoroughly. Thank you! I can be one to try to control all (even through avoidance), but God is the one who pulls me through, every single time.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! Thanks, Lynn.

  6. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, I needed your post today. In some cases I’ve been more “responsible” than “faithful.” Thank you for explaining the difference.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeannie, I find some areas are easier to trust God with than others. The others I have a harder time letting go.

  7. Barbara Latta

    Thanks for sharing the these differences. I had never thought of that before but your definitions show us how we can depend upon ourselves instead of God. He does want us to be faithful and let Him do the work.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, for me the difference mean the difference between trust and worry.

  8. Lisa Blair

    This is such a helpful distinction, Debbie. Thank you! In the midst of our duties, may we remain dependent on His faithfulness. He is able to “direct our steps, supply our needs and secure our future.” God’s faithfulness towards your MIL is such a beautiful testimony of Him honoring her heart’s desire.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Lisa, remembering how God took care of Larry’s mom has encouraged me when I’m tempted to fret over the future.

  9. Ann J Musico

    There truly is a HUGE difference between being responsible and faithful and you explained it so beautifully Debbie. I am also a first born and grew up in a home with a mom who had problems with alcohol so I took on responsibility at an early age as well. It has taken me many years (and I still find I struggle with it) to get to a point where I intentionally do not take responsibiility for what I should not. Having children – now grown children – and now grandchildren – continues driving home this important lesson.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I always knew you were a kindred spirit!

  10. Jerralea Winn Miller

    Yes, God is big enough to take care of me and my family and our future! Thank you for that reminder today. And I appreciate the distinction between faithful and responsible. I had never viewed it in quite that way before.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jerralea!

  11. Sylvia Schroeder

    Thanks so much for defining the difference so clearly. I certainly want to trust the One Who is Able!! Great post Debbie!

  12. Debbie Wilson

    Me too, Sylvia!

  13. Joanne Viola

    Debbie, you have explained the difference between responsible and faithful beautifully. It’s so easy for me to slip over the fine line which separates the two. May God keep me (us) faithful in the days ahead to trust Him to provide direction, provision,, and security. Blessings!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! It is for me too, Joanne.

  14. Yvonne Morgan

    You post to me so much. Lots for me to digest. Thanks Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Yvonne.

  15. J.D. Wininger

    I’ve blurred those lines a time or six myself Ms. Debbie. I tend to take responsibility for things that it’s not up to me to fix or change. Great thoughts ma’am. Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, J.D. Thanks you.

  16. Annie Yorty

    Debbie, you’ve asked a thought-provoking question and provided great insight from Scripture for us to ponder and apply. Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Annie!

  17. Barb Hegreberg

    I choose faithfulness over responsibility! Thanks for the pep talk.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Barb!

  18. Nancy E. Head

    We try to be responsible and teach responsibility. Being faithful is so much more important. Faith and joy rather than the heaviness of relying on ourselves. Wonderful message!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, another case of the good being an enemy of the best. Anything that undercuts our faith and trust in God in NOT good.

  19. Natalie Corbin

    Its 3:55 AM in Philadelphia PA when i started reading this article Responsibility VS Faithfulness Wow I know that God is showing me how Great a Father He is to me through this article , which the Holy Spirit inspired you to write and to define it in a way i have never even considered. My Heavenly Father knows what I needed this morning and revealed to me that I was missing the mark in this area. I confessed and I repent and I know the Holy Spirit will help me going forward in a new direction of faithfulness not the responsibility to fix in my own strenght which i had taken on sometimes so unaware Thank you for obeying God’s leading May the Lord grant you more grace and continue to bless you and your family

    • Debbie Wilson

      Glory to God! Natalie, I’m thankful God used this to minister to you. Many blessings.

  20. PaulaShort

    Ooohh! I get it now. Thank you for sharing this clarification. I really appreciate knowing this now. Blessings.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Blessings to you, Paula!!

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