We all need accountability. God gave us the Holy Spirit and the church as accountability partners. He knew that we would wander away without some form of presence to hold us to the straight and narrow, but we all still have a tendency to drift away from the power source that keeps us in line.
Joseph Stowell in his book, “Radical Reliance: Living 24/7 with God at the Center” shares these six steps of separation that can be a temptation. Consider these as accountability checks that we are tempted to avoid when we are in the wandering mode.
Six steps of separation: (from “Radical Reliance”)
- Doubting God’s goodness, wisdom and his perfect intentions in our lives “Satan breaks our trust in God by getting us to interpret God, his Word, and our life experiences in non-truthful ways. Once we begin to suspect God instead of respecting and honoring him, we have begun to trek away from him.” Examples of this are blaming God for evil in our lives; perceiving God as good to others but denying us pleasure, position—discontentment; self-righteousness—thinking we have been good and we are not getting the reward or recognition we deserve; forgetting that God will orchestrate good out of bad in our lives; convincing ourselves that God’s way is not as good as ours—too restrictive.
- Belief we need more or deserve more than God has given to satisfy, sustain and secure our lives. Like Eve we think we are missing out or God is holding out on what will give us a full life. When we stretch out our hand for that fresh fruit we think we deserve we lose peace, intimacy with God, a clear conscience and we gain guilt, shame and fear.
- Displaced loyalty, putting other relationships above loyalty to God. Bottom line: we should look to God for ultimate satisfaction of our needs (love, companionship) in his timing.
- Trying to make our religion conform to our way of thinking. Our actions appear good but our heart is all wrong. (e.g.: Cain offered up sacrifice but it was a shame because his heart wasn’t in it.
- Resisting God’s reproof or clinging to our sin and ignoring God’s discipline leads to a hard heart, insensitive conviction and unwillingness to repent.
- Removing righteous reminders such as church attendance, small group Bible studies, tithing and accountability from our lives.
So how do we set up accountability check points so we don’t allow these six steps to be our method of operation and miss living a Christ-centered life?
- First and most important, remember that you have been bought with a price God paid, because he loves you, so you could have an intimate relationship with him (John 3:16-17).
- Stay consistent in both personal and group Bible study. Do what it takes to carve out time for personal Bible study each day, maybe by working through a book of the Bible verse by verse or working through a study book. Being in a Bible study group where you are engaged in discussion about a passage or Bible book will generate accountability and help you meditate on a passage (Psalm 1:2-3).
- Stay in church. Worshiping together as a body of believers and keeping connected to others on a weekly basis helps each of us stay on track. We can encourage others and be encouraged by others helping each other stand together against the schemes of the devil, and stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Don’t give into the temptation to tune out due to the restrictions in place, but make intentional efforts to stay in relationships with fellow believers(Hebrews10:23-25).
- Stay connected with someone who will ask you the hard questions and encourage you in living life (Ephesians 4:25-32).
- Stay in prayer, confessing your need for the Lord, relying on him as your source of power, and giving thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).
We all need each other to stay in sync with the Savior. Ask the Lord to help you put into place accountability checks to help you grow in your intimacy relationship with God 24/7.