I spent the evening the other night with an old friend of mine. He & I used to meet each week, early in the morning, for prayer & accountability. It was one of those friendships that you really want to have with others, but most of the time fall far short of actually seeing happen. Through that mutual respect, encouragement & ‘spurring’ I can absolutely say that it had a deep impact on my life, my ministry, my marriage & family life, & my spiritual journey.
There really is no secret formula involved. I know I used to think so, and I’m sure that is what a lot of other people believe as well. But when it comes down to it, I’m afraid there’s no special list of “things you must have in an accountability relationship in order to succeed.” What I found was much more simple.
The real ‘magic’ of seeing an accountability partnership between two or more people succeed in having an impact on the people involved is the foundation of simply meeting together. It sounds simple, but there is tremendous impact in our lives when we are truly devoted to the habit of meeting together on a regular basis and of opening our lives up to others. Scripture exhorts us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” and to “mourn with those who mourn” and “rejoice with those who rejoice.” When we align our hearts, motives, and priorities with God’s Heart, desires & purposes for our lives – life change will happen. It’s a given.
Instead, we come up with all kinds of complicated sets of rules for how true accountability looks and lives out in our lives with others. Usually the consequences of heaping additional dos & don’ts into our spiritual walk is that we do the things we don’t want, and don’t practice the things we ought to do (seems like that would make a good Bible verse – ha!). No, piling on man-made rules, regulations & restrictions just give our natural, sinful souls more opportunities to screw things up.
Heart commitment to deeper-than-surface level relationships that we invest in on a regular, reoccurring basis is the end in itself. We invest in others & God blesses our lives for living in obedience to His heart desires.
I was reminded of that this week as my friend & I caught up. We shared our joys & struggles since the last time we saw each other face to face and it felt like it was just yesterday. Maybe it is because we are family, spiritual brothers on journey together. Maybe, just maybe, it is because we were willing to say “Yes” to the kind of Christian relationship and friendship that requires more time, energy & focus than simply existing in our lives on a daily basis.