Who’s Your Buddy?
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18)
Most of us have read or heard this verse and know that God created us from the very beginning to be in relationship with Him and with one another. We also know that God sees all of us, that Christ took our punishment and made us right with God, by His grace through faith.
But we know too that even after we have received the gift of salvation – while on this earth – we have the capacity to sin. And while this doesn’t take us out of our right standing with God, since we get a “do-over” EVERY time we repent and seek His forgiveness, sin does take us off the path of the abundant life that Jesus also came to gift us with. The Word tells us that Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), and without intention, we drift into the ease of believing the lies with which he taunts us. These lies take advantage of our weaknesses, and deceive us into being undisciplined and falling to temptation.
The needed intention – the antidote – is accountability. Most pastors we’ve worked with are quick to understand the “biblicality” of accountability. They are often quick to counsel their teams to have accountability groups (what we call “Life Groups”) and to see them as critical to growth as disciples. Yet while this is true, many of us remain resistant to accountability. Why?
Perhaps one reason is a misunderstanding on the meaning of the word. Like those who equate happiness with “stuff” versus a Christian view of happiness being rooted in “holiness”, we can misunderstand accountability too. Ask yourself how you define accountability. Is it negative, like you would have to be a “watchdog” or “micro-manager?”
As we see in Genesis 2:18, God views accountability as a gift to us, a helper…PROTECTION-protection from being undisciplined, protection from falling to temptation, protection from being DECEIVED by the father of lies! Before Jesus, we see that this human protection fails. But, as love never fails, God, who IS love, has a solution and He continues to encourage us that, though He is our ultimate accountability partner, WE as believers can provide a lesser form of accountability (PROTECTION) to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Once we start receiving the benefits of having an accountability group (and that can be with just ONE other person), we start to see the PROTECTION that God has offered us all along. Reminders of His LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness…. His GRACE. This is not judgment. This is protection under the guidance and love of our Father. Freely we receive, and freely we give. As we do, we begin to trust God more, trust Him in others more, and our lives begin to reflect less of us and more of GOD. Others start to see “something” (JESUS) in us, and they want to get in on it. Evangelism becomes easy because we notice what God is doing in our lives and sharing it becomes natural. If we get off track, confused, deceived and wayward, our accountability partner – our BUDDY – can help us put on our shield of FAITH more readily, and faith becomes more unconsciously part of our being-more of God, less of us.
Note that this godly understanding of accountability comes through the work of God in OUR OWN lives. It’s always important to remember that we can’t take anyone else on a journey we are not on. Have you experienced the gift of accountability? Are you experiencing it now? If not, don’t be content with the level of leadership God has brought you to in the church. He wants to continue to grow us as disciples, and one critical resource is our Christian brothers and sisters holding us accountable to His grace.
If you are experiencing the gift of accountability, thank God for opening your heart to this gift. Ask God who He wants you to tell or who He wants you to invite into an accountability relationship. Perhaps God is calling you to grow into even deeper levels of accountability, as a mentor or mentee. Ask Him.
As we live into the gift of accountability, we grow in vulnerability and humility. We grow in CHRIST. My prayer is that we take this to heart so that we, like Paul, can confess: “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it…” (Romans 7:18-19) And, with other believers to protect us from thinking this capacity to sin leaves us hopeless, we can continue, like Paul, and live under this truth:
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord!” -Romans 7:25(a)
If you have any questions about practical steps to grow in accountability personally or in your church, please call us at Life Spring Network, 630-259-8438, or visit our website: lifespringnetwork.org.