God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
-Genesis 1:26-28 The Message
By God's design, we are happiest and some might say most fulfilled, when we manage the responsibilities we've been given well. But, when we are irresponsible, everyone suffers. Our irresponsibility causes conflict and chaos. Irresponsibility isn't a difficult concept to grasp. It's what happens when we don't take responsibility for what we are responsible for. Sometimes we say irresponsible things or behave irresponsibly to get attention. Other times we test a system or challenge authority in hopes of getting away with something. Our culture rewards irresponsibility. It's almost celebrated and people have found ways to profit from it. Which is why we must recognize that once irresponsibility gets rewarded - it gets repeated.
Imagine how differently life could've have developed had Adam and Eve took responsibility for their actions in the Garden of Eden. The early chapters of Genesis describe God's big idea for a good life. Humanity was created in a complete and perfect state. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to work it and care for it. God provided a wife so that Adam would not be alone and perhaps so they could come to know the immense goodness of accomplishing great things together. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were content with life in the Garden of Eden and their relationship with God. God's original will was simply to retain this perfection. However, humanity was created in the Image of God, which included the ability for self-determination. Adam and Eve used their self-determining power to turn away from God and thus came the Fall with devastating effects.
The September installment of the i3-series is titled Infuse. We don't become responsible overnight. But, we can take small steps to infuse responsibility into our lives and model responsibility to the next generation. We cannot make choices for others. But we can live and act in a way that reflects God's standards and morality. Living responsible lives is not easy. Infusing responsibility into our lives may feel awkward at first but in the end the rewards will be God-honoring. Who knows, we may find ourselves tending a garden after all.
"More than a momentary transaction from guilty to forgiven, John Wesley defined salvation as 'the renewal of our souls after the Image of God.' Responsible Grace by Randy Maddox