Isolation is one of Satans strategies in destroying men; a strategy that parallels a predatory mountain lion who seeks out, isolates, and annihilates a member of the herd. (See 1 Pet. 5:8). In junior high, three of us ran around together and knew each other from the inside out. Few of us in adulthood experience that level of camaraderie. As we move through life, we become comfortable with where we are, as we nibble and imbibe on worldly pleasures and distractions that deaden the soul, and obscure the larger vision God has for our lives. Incrementally we seem to loose our passion for God, His purposes, and His glory as we rationalize our deteriorating condition in order to feel good about ourselves. Thus, the last thing we want is for another person to see into the dry rot that has seeped into our soul.
If this is our situation, what we desperately need is renewal, which begins in repentance and continues in obedience, strengthened by accountability.+ Accountability is being willing to be called to account. It is being willing to risk opening our lives to be answerable to another person(s) for our attitudes and actions. Realize it or not, you and I desperately need a spiritually wise person near us who can see into our soul as to whether we are playing games or living authentically before God. We desperately need people who are willing to lovingly, but firmly call us to account. For several years now a dozen business and professional men and I have been meeting for Bible study, and sharing our lives. Because a deep sense of love and trust has developed among us we have become transparent and accountable to each other. To the man, we relish our times together!
Accountability is a biblical concept:
- Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. (Pro. 27:17)
- Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (Pro.. 13:10)
- He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. (Pro. 13:18)
- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Pro. 27:17)
- Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecc. 4:9-12)
Tom Eisenman, in his book, The Accountable Man suggests accountability questions to ask each other as it relates to our relationship with God:+
- When did you take time to worship God this week?
- How much prayer time did you find this week, and was it quality time with God? Describe your prayer life this week to your partner(s).
- Did you find adequate time to do devotional and reflective reading this week? In Scripture? In other sources?
- How did you and your spouse meet with God together this week?
- What did you thank God for this week?
- What has been a struggle area for you in your devotional life this week?
- What do you see as the number-one need to address in the coming weeks in your relationship with the Lord?
- Do you feel you have accomplished your spiritual aims for the week?
- In what ways did you feel God was blessing you this week? What disappointment (if any) consumed your thoughts this week?
QUESTION: If you are choosing isolation over accountability, what does that reveal about who you are at the core?
+ The Accountable Man, InterVarsity Press, Dowers Grove, IL, Pages 139, 140