Salvation and Personal Responsibility

By Kersley Fitzgerald

The Series

Salvation and our Personal Story
Salvation and our Broken Story
Salvation and Personal Responsibility

The Beginning

Virginia took Wolf's hand. Really? He knew her mother was the evil queen trying to take over the Nine Kingdoms? And he still loved her? They turned back down the road and walked into the sunset, happily ever after.

Not quite. First they had to sneak into the castle, stop the queen, and rescue all the nobles there to celebrate the coronation of the prince. Once they figured out how to turn the prince back from a Golden Retriever to a man again.

Because although Wolf's love had nothing to do with Virginia's story, she still needed to act. To be the hero only she could be.

Similarly, God's love is unconditional. Salvation is not through works. And yet, in the Christian walk, obedience is a big deal. Even when it's hard. Even when we're hard-wired against it. God knows it's hard and that we're going to fail. A lot. Virginia knew that. She walked into the danger, fully aware of her own weaknesses and fear, and did what had to be done, anyway. She didn't want to. But she was the only one who could.

Walking Wounded

We are the same. But sometimes we don't even know how our past is defining us. How does being an introvert cause others to think you're cold? How does having a high standard make others feel inadequate? How does being continually fearful put others on edge?

This world is absolutely fallen, and so are we. Everything about us can predispose us to sin. Because God says love people and care for them and go out of your way to put them first. And if your personality is such that those things are completely foreign, that can be really hard to do. It's easier to just not do it. So, what do you do? Do you use the condition as an excuse?

The Bible says, no. You do it anyway. You do it when you don't feel like it. You do it until it gets a little easier. And in the in-between times, you let God work healing so that it comes more naturally.

Get 'er Done

What does that look like for other situations? If the condition requires medication, you take the medication. Even when you don't feel like it. If it requires staying away from alcohol, you get rid of the Nyquil. If it requires the really hard work of studying faces and learning non-verbal cues, you work on that. You do what you can and pray Jesus covers the rest.

Again, these are not salvation issues. Salvation came when we said, "I can't, but Jesus can." And we can be the most disciplined person in the world, but we are never going to be completely obedient. God understands that, and the more our friends and family see us working hard to love them, the more they'll understand, too. That's what obedience is — love God, love others. Some people come by it naturally. But Jesus said, "Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends." It could be that to work hard against the brokenness in our lives and love anyway is a greater love than that of someone who doesn't have to struggle. Maybe those who have to fight to choose love, love more.

Virginia, Tony, and Wolf save the Nine Kingdoms. Virginia and Wolf get married and move to New York. But, before too long, they're called back to deal with more trouble. We're not told what — perhaps additional fallout from her mother's actions. But even though Virginia has the same story and will have to deal with aspects of it for the rest of her life, she heads straight in. She knows the meta-narrative has need of her just as she is.

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Published 2-28-12