I received some feedback on my last post regarding my willful sin. Apparently, I am not the only one that does stuff like that. That doesn’t excuse it. Misery does not love company. Freedom, now that is good reason to celebrate with others. Bondage is not.
Now that I have confessed my sin, now what? I mean it felt good to get that load of garbage off my chest, but now what? I was tempted again Saturday and failed. I don’t want to keep jacking myself between Romans 7 with its “wretched man that I am” and Romans 8 with “there is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” I want to be celebrating this:
John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
From what I can decipher from scripture, I will be required to do at least four things: 1) dive deep into God through prayer and my bible, 2) study myself carefully for patterns of behavior to identify strongholds, 3) replace those strongholds with the truth of the gospel, and 4) submit to accountability with at least one other human being.
This last one is the most difficult of all. I’ve done the first three many times with the same problem only to find myself right back where I started. Don’t get me wrong, God is all I need, but that also ignores the fact that God made us part of the body of Christ. We are meant to interact with each other.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
This would make most sense if it was an on-going process. Not only that, but that someone should be a person that truly expects you to conform to the holiness God requires of us. Not only expects but requires it. What do I mean by that? I mean that this would be a responsibility that would not be easy to carry out.
Let me put it this way by asking you a question. How often and to what degree does your sin interfere with your prayer life? There is not one person I have ever spoken to that says they excel in this. In fact, most people are truly ashamed at how poor their prayer is. I would contend that unresolved sin is a primary factor in this. A good accountability partner will help conquer a besetting sin.
Imagine this dialogue over time:
Me : Man, my gluttony was out of control this weekend.
Partner : Thank God for Romans 8:1. What have you learned about this sin? Have you studied it?
Me : No, but I think that would help.
Partner : I bet it would. You aren’t the only person with this problem.
Me : That’s right. I did hear something about this on Focus on the Family. Maybe they have some resources. I’ll check it out.
Partner : Sounds good. I’ll be interested to find out what you learn.
And the next week could be:
Partner : So, how did it go? Did you make any progress?
Me : I did. I ordered a book that’s right up my alley.
Partner : Great! I also looked at some stuff. I learned that keeping a diary is helpful.
Me : It would be, but I don’t have time to keep track of all that.
Partner : But you have time to complain about being fat?
Me : (silence)
Partner : Tell you what, bring your diary in each week and you can show me what you’ve eaten and your weight changes.
Me : I don’t like that, you know, but it makes sense.
Anyway, you get the idea. For those of you that have been in an on-going small group, don’t you get tired of people asking for prayer over and over for the same sin? Don’t you hate asking for it yourself? It’s a shame that nobody says, “So, what are you going to do about it? Don’t just flap your lips, show us some action!” That action may be something very simple. Then, again, it may take professional help. A good accountability partner will be a good coach and push you to where you need to go.
Do you have someone like this in your life? Ideally, your spouse could be one. I would recommend another person as well, one of the same sex. It could be a small group, again of the same sex, but it’s hard enough finding one person to do this let alone several. I’ll tell you what, it is difficult to find someone who is truly willing to act as an accountability partner. I have one, but we are too far apart to be consistent. I have yet to find one locally now that I have moved – and I have tried. I find that men simply don’t want to admit they have problems. Unless you hire someone professionally to hold you accountable, it should be a peer relationship. That means that you both need to serve the same function for each other.
Father, spur us on. Give us the desire to be held accountable to our behavior, to be corrected when needed and to celebrate when victorious! Give us a hunger for this, Lord. Let us not be satisfied until we accomplish this. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers