Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

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    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Edmund Opitz: Man’s Freedom & Responsibility

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 23, 2013

A man born into freedom is responsible for his life. He cannot blame his father, mother, siblings, environment, partners, or anything else besides himself if he is unhappy with the results. Yes, bad cards are dealt to good people; however, if one keeps playing the game of life, eventually he will receive new cards and develop a winning hand. Man, in other words, must build his life upon the proper principles to reflect his love of God, by serving Him and mankind. People are free to reject what I just wrote, but not free to reject the consequences of living life with improper principles.

Edmund Opitz

Edmund Opitz

I am in the middle of reading a fascinating book by Edmund Opitz, the late Christian Libertarian minister, that is absolutely superb! I love books that make me think at a deeper level and all of Opitz’s books do this. He was an avid reader/thinker, servant of Christ, and lover of (economic, political, and spiritual) liberty. Over the years, I have read most of the classic Christian books like Calvin’s Institutes, Luther’s Bondage of the Will, Augustine’s Confessions, Jonathan Edward’s Freedom of the Will and many others. These books, and my personal leadership journey, led me on a three year study to determine how to explain God’s sovereignty and man responsibility. Since I knew both concepts to be true, I had to comprehend how I could explain this to my own satisfaction and others.

This study was crucial for me as I wanted to be a leader who led people to truth in all areas of life. Consequently, I knew I had plenty of homework ahead of me to get the answers to help others do the same. Mercifully, after hundreds of books read on the subject and thousands of hours of thinking, the breakthrough came. In sum, I do believe man has freedom of will, but, since man’s will is fallen, he wills against God until he is regenerated. I summarized these thoughts on man’s free will and fallen nature in a short quote, “Man is free to will what he wants, but, in his flesh, doesn’t want God.” Anywhere we see man desiring God we know the Holy Spirit has been at work regenerating the mind, heart, and will.

Everyone is free to agree or not agree with what I just wrote, I only share it to explain my three years of pondering one of life’s paradoxes as a lead in to Edmund Opitz’s thoughts on freedom. Think through his thoughts and share why you believe you are responsible to God and mankind and how you live this philosophy in your daily life?

Human beings are virtually without specific instincts. There is no servo-mechanism in men which automatically keeps the human organism or the species within the pattern laid down for human life. Men have to figure things out and, by enormous effort, learn to conform their actions to the relevant norms in the various sectors of life. This absence of instincts in man constitutes the ground for man’s radical inner freedom, the freedom of his will. . .

Men, however, vary enormously from each other at birth, and the differences widen as individuals mature – each into his specialized individuality. And each person has the gift of freedom so radical that he can deny the existence of the creative forces which produced him. This human freedom makes it not only possible but mandatory that man take a hand in the fashioning of his own life. No man creates himself, but every man makes himself, using the created portions of his being as his resources. This is what it means to say that man is a responsible being.

. . . Of all the orders of creation, only man is a responsible being, who can change; everything else, every horse, dog, lion, tiger, and shark is what it is. Only man is, in any measure, responsible for what he is. Man makes himself, and, therefore each person is morally responsible for himself.

Why did the LIFE Leadership founders start our leadership company? Because we want to teach people how to be responsible to their duties in life. Unfortunately, today, we live in a world today where it’s becoming popular to pass the buck. Reality TV shows spew gossip and finger-pointing in an attempt to deflect blame from themselves; radio shows are filled with child-like rants rather than thoughtful solutions to today’s challenges; and free market competition is scorned by Big Business, apparently only allowed on the sports field. Nonetheless, leaders have a responsibility to run against the current of decline, doing their duty by creating a LeaderShift. Whether a leader is recognized, rewarded, or even remembered, it is simply the right thing to do.


Orrin Woodward

35 Responses to “Edmund Opitz: Man’s Freedom & Responsibility”

  1. Chad Waters said

    Great article Orrin!

    I totally agree and before Life was one of the 95% leaving things for someone else to fix for me or the next generation. We have choosen to better ourselves not believing what we have been told and beating any obstacle in the way. From reading nothing as a dyslexic to 4-6 books a month I’m hungry to do my part! We will lead this LeaderShift in every possible way no matter how uncomfortable things get or what our critics can challenge to say or comprehend to understand.
    Catherine and I have five children and 2 years already has caused a LeaderShift in our home and anyone associated to us and Life! I can’t wait to see what a life time will bring along side seeing the ripple effect off generations ahead!

    Thanks for dedicating your life to people looking to help! With out you it woukd be a lost world however now a LeaderShift is inevitable!

    God Bless!

  2. Scott Staley said

    Great blog Orrin. A comment was made over the weekend ‘we are all created equal, but our contributions (in life) are unequal’. Thank you for starting a ripple effect that has started me down a path to recognize my own unequal contributions – and my ability to do more.

    Thank you for the thought provoking blog.

  3. Orrin,

    I think this is an interesting way he explains God’s special creation of man in Genesis. It is the dialogue in Genesis that is the foundation of my belief. That conversation makes it clear to me that I have responsibilities to God and mankind. I was flirting with applying these truths in my life since I was nine years old. It was not until I met the LIFE TEAM that I was able to learn the study skills necessary to apply these truths in my life! I am now able to put God and others before myself (most of the time) and have the courage necessary to dream of and act on building a lasting legacy that will spread these truths for ages to come! Thanks for all you do!

  4. Richard Kroll Jr. said

    Orrin, thank you for another thought-provoking article! I think when Opitz asserts that “…each person has the gift of freedom so radical that he can deny the existence of the creative forces which produced him.”

    For 30 years I was “enjoying” the freedom my Creator gave me, without a single thought to showing my appreciation to HIM; for not only creating me, but giving me the very freedom I used to deny His existence and purpose in my life!

    Once I became aware that God existed and wanted a relationship with me…I also discovered that He made a way of reconciliation back to Himself, through what Jesus accomplished on the cross. It was then I was able to LIVE… not only in sincere appreciation for what God had done for me, but also to seek HIS purpose for my life.

    The LIFE Leadership business has given me a platform to use what God has blessed me with to bless others and glorify Him- at the same time using the very talents, abilities and passions He created me with to do so!

    Knowing that… how else could I live?

  5. Chris VanDevere said

    Orrin you again strike at the heart o the matter of LIFE. I learned through reading and reflection to understand man as the only physical (as opposed to spiritual) creation of a loving Creator made “in His image.” I took this to mean “sharing in His creative ability.” All other physical creations react or respond to physical imput. Man is capable of choice – the ability to create a response. Christianity then, at a very basic or initial inquiry, asks “how then shall we respond to this loving Creator?” Which then becomes the foundational question of our life in community with others – socially, politically, economically, and spiritually. I believe we are “respond-sible” to respond in love and to create a similar response in others.

    Thanks again

  6. What a great article!

  7. Ken Mangold said

    I was not raised in the church as my wife, Lisa, was. While I see my primary duty as a pastor as being the feet of the Gospel I do so enjoy the philosophical aspect of the Christian faith. The “now and not yet” nature of salvation and eternal life, the paradox of being saint and sinner at the same, the doctrine of Total Depravity and its logical affect on our Christian worldview, and (as you have expressed in this post) the “Bondage of the Will” as expressed by Dr. Luther.

    One of my favorite Latin phrases from my seminary days is, “Simul justus et peccator” (simultneously saint and sinner). It is a great phrase that expresses the paradox and constant tensions that are Christianity. I am a new creation in Christ and yet, at the same time, I struggle against the the old nature/Old Adam that still dwells within me. Keeping that Old Adam subdued is a lot like placing oneself into a bath tub filled with water and ping pong balls and me attempting to keep each and every ball submerged simultaneously.

    A proper understanding of who and what we are as fallen human beings is essential to understanding justification/salvation and our sanctification. One cannot have a truly effective plan of progress for one’s own sanctified life aside from a correct understanding of human nature (and, of course, A LOT of help from the Holy Spirit). The role our human will plays in all of this is of extreme importance! Know thy self . . . .

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Another great addition to the conversation. The community is amazing at so many levels! 🙂

  8. Larry Pahl said

    AMEN! To be or not to be… responsible that is the question. Thanks for passing on your continued learning and insight. Larry

  9. matt mielke said

    WOw, the comments are adding richness to an already awesome article. Thanks for your all of your insight and specifically your example Orrin.

  10. All I can say is wow!!! That is the most amazing way to state the truth and it wraps up so much !!

  11. Elaine Koleske said

    Being involved in the LIFE program has opened my eyes and my heart to many possibilities. Each and everyone one of us is born with genius. Are we using those skills and abilities to fulfill our purpose? Are we reaching out and helping those who are struggling? Do we say ‘hi’ everywhere we go and build friendships? Are we following the path God has designed? Are we conscious of our decisions? Are we Christlike? The world needs people to step up and create a LeaderShift. I am excited to be involved. Let’s help educate others. The LIFE program has the tools. Let’s share it and make a difference!

  12. Aaron Lapp said

    This is another awesome post. it is awesome when you have a website to go that is all positive

  13. kim Decker said

    We know this is so true, then why is it so hard to talk to people who are so miserable in life. The more I pay attention and really look into the eyes of others the more it saddens me to great extents. People are so lonely, sad, and totally lost in life they just seem to give up and don’t even realize what their mind is doing to them. I ask for the WISDOM daily to be put in front of some of these people and hopefully they have and open heart and mind and at least to me for the few minutes I do talk. I will pursue greatness with all the GLORY and PRAISE going to my LORD and then to the LIFE Leadership for me learning the difference. Thank you for a very great post.

  14. CJ Calvert said

    What a great quote: “No man creates himself, but every man makes himself.” What a miracle each person is in their creation, and what a tragic loss for the common man to do so little with that gift. Thankfully, have received a second gift in LIFE to dare greatly. I am so very thankful to you, Orrin, and the PC for your wisdom.

  15. Orrin,

    Another thought provoking blog. One that causes me to constantly ask the question, why am I the way I am? After accepting the grace of Christ on the Cross I still tend to revert in so many ways to the person I was before beginning my personal relationship with Christ. I am still living the reality of Romans 7:15-18 where it states I don’t understand my own actions for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Without that presence of the Holy Spirit I often question the choices of free will I might make.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Greg, Ken’s comments on saint and sinner concurrently were spot on. Keep leading brother! thanks, Orrin

    • Kevin Hamm said

      As I was reading the various responses I was grasping for the reference for the same quote Greg referred to in Romans. Obviously, we are such a rebellious lot. I love C.S. Lewis’ quote along these lines: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most in this world were precisely the ones who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased thinking of the other world, that they have become so ineffective in this.” Oh, that I could think of that other world often. Our works may not be effectuous for our justification, but they certainly accomplish something for our sanctification and certainly impact our future reward…more significantly than our demonstration might show at times. Thanks Orrin.

      • J & P Harteis said

        That’s powerful, Kevin! We just have to remember that all things work for good for those of us who love Him! C.S. Lewis was such a great mind! Remind you of anyone?

  16. JeanetteP said

    I appreciate your honesty and depth of thought on this subject despite unpopularity. I can only share what I’ve learned and how I’ve come to believe what I do. I grew up in a non-Christian, dis-functional home with many reasons why I could be pointing the finger, playing the blame game and being the victim. But then I received and dedicated My life to Christ. HE rescued me from a mess, became my Father, my identity, my all in all. Over time, I’ve realized that every time I have wanted to play the victim and not confront my sin, do my part, I loose and the enemy of our soul laughs! As one made in His image, He gives us the capacity to “subdue and have dominion over the earth”(Gen1:27-8). He gives us a command and equal ability to do much-thru Him. Since He has saved me in many ways, with deep gratitude I owe my life to Him. So my life is dedicated to serve Him firstly and His creation. I strive to please Him daily & be led by His Spirit, tho faltering more times than I can count. We all struggle with the flesh doing that which we would not want to, but I’m thankful for Christs’ example and power to turn to. It is a daily process starting in the home with my spouse and the children He has called us to raise. As He bore our sin on that cross, His heart was “not My will but Your will be done”. Since a servant is not greater than his Master, I try to (again failing miserably much of the time) live my life by this example and resign my will to His will. It’s a simple but freeing lifestyle. As He says in 1Cor7:22-23, “For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”
    My family and I appreciate all that this business stands for and the leadership behind it. As I am not entirely sure what His ultimate will is for my life, I know He has led us to this business to continue to shape and form us to be all that He has called us to be!
    God bless you and yours as you press on toward the prize!

  17. Jason Dames said

    I Love how Iron sharpens Iron!!! this blog is amazing and all the readers as well!!! God Bless you all

  18. Micah said

    E.W. Kenyon a baptist minister from back in the 20-40’s wrote a great deal these topics in the Basic Bible Course (aka The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption) and the Advanced Bible Course. Both books are available on Amazon.com if you haven’t already read them.

  19. Thanks for sharing this, Orrin…appreciate you!

  20. J & P Harteis said

    Your blog was amazing, Orrin, & the comments have shown how the Lord stirs our hearts. He stands at the door and knocks, & it is only in our “choice” that we have the ability to let Him in, or not. When we finally realize “why” we were created, will we realize the “why” behind all of our frustrations & our dreams. May our lives give Him praise & glory, as we were created in His image. We pray that our LIFE business will open doors to His truth & love, which always go together! God bless!

  21. Monique Hoffer said

    Wow, talk about provoking some early morning deep thought.
    I am in awe as to what this Life opportunity has provided my family and I with. It’s lead me back to my faith, that I thought Id lost.
    I agree that as human we have an incredible amount of free will. I also believe that we all need to believe in something bigger, and greater than us. It helps us make the Right choices in life.

  22. Elizabeth Sieracki said

    I love your question.
    I believe we were created for a reason. We have free-will to determine if we are going to fulfill His reason for us in our lifetime. I believe our lives will be much more fulfilling (not necessarily easy) if we do model who He desires and created us to be. I agree with Tony Dungy when he shared that we should constantly be evaluating this concept–“will that model be consistent with the model God had in mind when He created you?”
    How do I live this philosophy in my daily life? There is plenty of room for improvement but through prayer, constant evaluation (PDCA) and examination and through actively learning. I desire to leave a legacy by playing an active role and contributing to the LeaderShift.

  23. Elaine Lacey said

    Orrin you always keep me thinking and what a blessing that is, the joy of accepting responsibility, how empowering !

  24. Bob Rasmussen said

    Thx Orrin!! I just listened to your message on a recent AGO cd #39, and was reminded again that even though I was a reluctant leader and a I am a fallen man my free will continues its battle time and again to want to be in charge. I thank God for your leadership which helps me understand and win more of the battles than I lose these days and let the Holy Spirit prevail. I love the story about Satan sending the demon who will tell us there is no hurry, LEADERSHIFT’s time is now and has never been more urgent!! God bless you!!

  25. Another man being spotlighted in this blog that, until I began a self-directed, liber education, I had never heard of — the CD in the MFC & Following F 8 CD pack ‘A Self Directed Education’ truly describes what those of us who are members, or those who are customers, or customers/members to be, can and will learn by simply subscribing to 5 star information = reading/listening/associating. Throw watching & these public blogs into the mix, and there’s no way one cannot stretch his/her thinking.

    Terrific insight, quotes, and subsequent comments from other readers!

  26. Michael Stithem said

    This one blog has brought a lot of clarity to my simplistic thoughts. The Information and inputs from others on this topic are amazing.

  27. Chuck Summers said


    I don’t know if you are familiar with J. I. Packer, but his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God was instrumental in helping me understand that vital subject. There are a lot of things that I don’t quite understand how they fit in but somehow in God’s Sovereignty we are responsible for our actions. I would also say that from our perspective, we can change our future, even though I know from Scripture that God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass.


    • Orrin Woodward said

      Chuck, Yes, I read that one and several other Packer books. He’s a great thinker. thanks, Orrin

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