Faith, Life, and Marriage · The Encouragement Corner

Urgent Accountability

“Two are better than one because they have a reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up…Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

Fun history-factoid: Did you know the ancient Greek, more specifically & well-known, the Spartans, were known for using a particularly effective military formation known as the phalanx? In this formation soldiers in the first few rows would lock their shields together, essentially creating a shield-wall that was difficult to break through. Each soldier would lock their shield in a position that would partially cover themselves & partially covering the soldier to one side of him. This insured each soldier had an interest in not only protecting himself but also protecting the soldiers on either side of him. If either of them went down it would open up greater vulnerability & increase the chances that he’d go down, too. Their formation was not only about defense, though. The first few rows would lower their spears, extending them out past the shield-wall, creating a great offense that would also make it more difficult for their enemies to get close enough for much combat.

Don’t worry…I’m not going to continue with my little history lesson here. The point of all this is it’s a great example of how we should be living our lives as Christians. No…no no no, not LITERALLY going to war, but spiritually. Ephesians 6 tells us it’s not physical, tangible things we go up against, but spiritual enemies. Ya’ll, if you’re a Christian, you are in a war for your soul & a war for the souls of those around you…it’s serious. If you went to war you wouldn’t go by yourself, so why do we think we can go our spiritual walk all on our own? I know I can’t. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance, the utmost urgency, if you’re a Christian, you need to find an accountability partner as soon as possible, someone you know you can trust to help you up when you fall, to set you on a right path even when you can’t…or don’t want to do it yourself…someone who won’t be afraid to call you out but show you love, grace, forgiveness, & mercy at the same time, someone you know will go to spiritual battle for you. An accountability partner will be someone who doesn’t tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. They will help be the shield, the defense, against Satan’s attacks of guilt, shame, temptation. They will be the spiritual offense for you in prayer. They will stand at your side to help protect your heart as you help protect theirs.

To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve really been struggling over the past 6-8 months. I’ve been spiritually, emotionally, & mentally in a really bad place…in a place where I was spiritually vulnerable to the point where I allowed myself to compromise what I stand for, what I believe in. Having a strong Christian accountability partner has made all the difference through it all. I remember one day I was so full of anger, bitterness, & jealousy, so much so I could physically feel it in every fiber of my body. I didn’t even make it home from work that day. I made it half a mile before I pulled into a Dollar General parking lot & called her. She answered & I just spilled out my heart. She listened, she encouraged, she pointed me back to God, to His scripture, she was honest with me, & when she prayed for me she hit the nail on the head- she pointed out my heart of discontentment with the blessings God had put in my life, discontentment in not trusting in Him. Those words stung a bit, but they went straight to my heart & opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself & those around me…& just how long I’d been doing it…YEARS! I have fallen much harder since then, but when I hit rock bottom…when God opened my eyes to what I had done…when I woke up feeling physically sick to my stomach because of my heart & my actions, I knew who the first person was I could call, the person I could be honest with, the person I could trust to not judge me for my failure, but to forgive, encourage, & point me back to Christ. Her heart has made such an impact. If I had opened up to her sooner, I probably could have saved myself a lot of hurt, but that’s the trouble with going it alone, with keeping things in the dark…bad things fester in the dark. Just today, though, she reminded me, in the middle of me gushing out tears in a public restaurant, that I am human, & that even after some of the worst willful decisions of my life, in my remorse & repentance I am forgiven & my sins are washed white as snow…and oh how those words were needed in that moment…how those words were the tangible words of Christ in my ear, sweeping away all the horrible whispers from Satan telling me I could never be loved or forgiven by God again for my actions. Instead, her words swept away the guilt, the shame, the depression, & helped start the healing process for the wound I inflicted on myself.

So, if you’re a Christian, I urge you to find someone like that for yourself. Find yourself an accountability partner, a spiritual battle buddy, someone who you can trust to go to war for you. Try to find someone who isn’t in the middle of struggling with the same issue, they may have experience with it in the past but aren’t currently in the mire with you. Sometimes two people in the mud will only make things worse, kinda the whole “blind leading the blind” thing. Find someone who is the same gender as you- let’s just be real…this has to be someone you can open up to about private stuff, that honestly, someone of the opposite sex doesn’t need to know about you because that’d just set the both of you up for failure, too. If you don’t have an accountability partner, try to think of someone within your church you know you can trust, that you can reach out to & will be willing & Biblically dependable. And let’s be honest…if you can’t think of a single person at your church like this, 1 of 2 things needs to happen (or both): 1) you need to get more involved in your church & build better relationships with your fellow church-members; 2) If you still can’t find someone you need to find a different church because something greater is missing in that church- God. Don’t mess around with this. This world has so many voices for you to listen to, telling you to do your own thing, do what makes you happy, plenty of wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Those voices will lead you down a path you will NOT want to be on, a path that will destroy you & those around you. Instead, find a voice that will point you to the only Voice that really matters- Christ.

Find your phalanx-partner, your battle buddy, & get ready to go to war.

Be blessed, friends.

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