5 simple words, but they are unbelievably powerful.
The NIV renders them as "Be very careful, then, how you live." The CSB has "Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk." Phillips, however, nails it:
Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility.
Everything in life that's worthwhile requires care and a "due sense of responsibility." These include:
- our marriages
- our families
- our jobs
- our education
- our hobbies
- our appearance
- our habits
This is raw truth. We must treat these matters as the serious things they are. It's premature to put a cap on what you think you are capable of being responsible for. In The Lion King, Mufasa's kingdom is the responsible one, brimming with joy, meaning, and harmony, while Scar's kingdom is the nihilistic one, decaying into chaos, degeneration, and destruction.
What I've learned in recent years, especially since Becky's homegoing, is that life is about how you control and manage your duties by taking responsibility for your circumstances. We as humans and especially as Christians need to wake up from our endless bondage to complacency. The whole Bible literally alludes to this. Accountability and responsibility make me a better man -- at work, with my loved ones, or even while running. There are no limits but our own apathy.
The key is the indwelling God who enables us to actively pursue our duties. As Phil. 2:12-13 reminds us, there is always a blend between our commitment to what we have to do and our reliance on what God is doing. Yes, we are to shoulder responsibility for seeing that the work gets done. But our obedience arises out of the internal work of God enabling us both to will and to work his good pleasure. The effectual Worker makes us effectual workers.
The road toward a joyful standing before Christ at his coming is this road of obedient, responsible, enabled work.