through His Word
by Joanna Eccles
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:
- Find someone trustworthy who believes in sound Biblical doctrine. You want someone who will hold you to the truths of God’s Word, not the standards of the world.
- Set up a meeting, and see how you relate. Start by sharing small things. Don’t feel required to spill your biggest secrets the first time you get together. Confidentiality is key. At first, I had my friend ask if I’d flossed regularly and waited to share heavier matters. If it doesn’t work out, keep looking. Ask God to help you find the right person.
- Pray together. The second part of James 5:16 exhorts us to pray for one another after we confess our trespasses. Prayer strengthens our resolve through the Spirit to reject sin and walk in obedience to Christ.
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.
- Have you ever considered having an accountability partner? Why or why not?
- What are some areas of spiritual guidance you would want to pray through with another believer?
- Who do you think God might lead you to use as a trustworthy accountability partner? Pray that God will help you find someone.
Joanna Eccles founded Words from the Honeycomb to encourage people to grow in Christ (www.wordsfromthehoneycomb.com). She desires to shape culture by addressing truths in relatable ways. Joanna has led Bible studies for fifteen years and completed the year-long C.S. Lewis Fellows Program. She lives in Virginia and loves traveling.
A Note from Katy: Do you ever find it hard like I do to sustain a spiritual victory? Visit our last post, The Power Over Rejection by Stephanie Pavlantos, to catch up on any Bible study devotions that you may have missed in this series. Stephanie’s post shares a freeing perspective on handling rejection. At the end of her post, you’ll find links to the rest of the devotions in Sustaining Life’s Victories.spiritual bondage, sin, accountability, freedom, Joanna Eccles, Overcoming through Accountability, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies