Overcoming through Accountability
This week I had the opportunity to guest blog for Katy Kauffman's series "Sustaining Life's Victories." I share how Biblical accountability has grown my relationship with God and give practical tips for creating accountability in your own life.
Here's the article:
I had one sin that crippled me for years. I shoved it into the deepest corner of my heart so no one would know my shame. Satan used that guilt to keep me entrenched in sin. I remember sobbing by my bed, begging God to rid me of the pain. I didn’t know what to do. God showed me that surfacing sin is one of the surest ways to strangle its grip on my life. When I finally confessed it, the stronghold broke, releasing the sin’s hold on me.
First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). From this verse, I knew that God had the ultimate power of forgiveness. However, even though I’d confessed my sin and been forgiven, I still didn’t feel like I was maintaining the victory.
Then I got an accountability partner. I discovered that beyond confessing our sins to God, real freedom can be found in confessing our sins to other believers. While Catholics have confessing to a priest ingrained into their culture, my Protestant background left out that aspect of Christian life. Nonetheless, the concept is very biblical. James 5:16 says, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (NKJV). This verse didn’t mean that I should start telling everyone everything that I’d done wrong. Instead, I read it as an instruction to confess my sins to a Christian friend who’d ask me hard questions about my thoughts and actions.
My Accountability Journey
Finding an accountability buddy brought someone alongside me in the fight against sin. God created Christian community not only for fellowship and fun, but to help encourage each other to lead godly lives, even when it’s hard. When I grew accountability in my life, my joy increased as sin lessened its power over me.
My accountability partner and I have met monthly for about ten years. We open with prayer and take turns giving our updates from the last month and praying about where He is leading us next. Besides confessing our sins to each other, God often provides direction and reveals wisdom to us during our discussions. Once, we felt God calling us to start a prayer group. My life was hectic, and I couldn’t figure out when to host it. I wound up convincing my Bible study to switch our regular study to a prayer night once a month.
Another insight God gave me during our talks was that all my time belonged to Him. I’d been struggling with how long it was taking me to reach certain life goals. I realized that if all my time belonged to God, He could use it however He wanted, and I’d never be late. God had also done a lot of preparation work in Joseph and Moses while they waited to fulfill their callings. My job was to seek God and trust His timing.
Ways to Create Accountability
Here are some general insights I learned about how to establish an accountability relationship:
With these thoughts in mind, if you are seeking to overcome sin and desire to hear God in new ways, consider finding an accountability partner. I can’t recommend it enough. The relationship is mutually beneficial and provides the Holy Spirit a new avenue of connection into your life to spur you into good works that will bless you and glorify God.
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Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.