We’ve all heard of Accountability Partners (aka Accountabilibuddy). When trying to improve your health, the very best accountabilibuddy is a 7 year old that wants you to succeed. They know you can succeed and are not old enough to understand that sometimes Daddy just ‘needs’ a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies. They don’t care about excuses, they just want you to win. We all benefit from these type of people in our lives. Those who love us enough to have the hard conversations, not to stir the pot but because they truly want what is best for you. This is especially true when it comes to our spiritual growth.
I subscribe to a Men’s devotional called “Wired” and recently received a great article on the topic of how living in community helps us mature in the faith through relationships. When I read it I thought, “I sure wish I had written this”. Since I don’t plagerize, I thought I would just share the article. After you read it call your Accountabilibuddy and talk about it over a cup of coffee and remember - circles are better than rows.
Call Out or Call In?
. . . and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free—John 8:32
We cannot mature in our faith without community. We just cannot. The process of maturing isn’t simple, isn’t smooth. It’s one of getting off track and getting on again—again and again. We need help with that. We’re designed to be together. We’re built to need one another. To “grow up healthy in God, robust in love” we need community (Ephesians 4:14-16 MSG).
To help, though, our communities must actually be capable of picking us up and getting us on track and encouraging us on. Our communities must be places where we’re willing to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Speaking that way requires moving beyond simply being polite to one another—and ever ignoring or excusing sin. It also requires moving beyond just pointing out sin or shortcomings or what bothers us or what we think might bother God.
Speaking the truth in love doesn’t require us to call each other out. It requires us to call each other in—into true identity. It requires us to call each other away from sin (e.g., “you don’t need to do that anymore . . .”) and into the identities God had in mind when he designed us, built us, and set us in motion (“. . . because this is who you really are”).