Overcoming through Accountability


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:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Comments (5)

  • anon

    Accountability is a vital step in maturing our faith.  Well done ma'am.
     

    Jul 09, 2019
  • anon

    I need an accountability partner. I've struggled to find someone willing to make the commitment. I keep praying for God to lead me to the right person.

    Jul 09, 2019
  • anon

    Very true! I read Luther's Cathechism and understood the purpose of confession to others for the first time. If we hide something, Satan uses it to shame us. When we openly admit it and how we know we're forgiven, it loses any hold it has on us! And every time I've tried it, I've found freedom after freedom! So important to share with people who are hiding their deepest darkest sins and feeling shame instead of healthy conviction. 

    Jul 09, 2019
  • anon

    These are some great tips for accountability. It is so important we take our masks off and encourage one another to move toward Christ.
     

    Jul 09, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for the comments.
    J.D. - Yes, accountability helps mature our faith. What a blessing. 
    Sherry, I will pray for you to find an accountability partner. I know how hard it was for me to find a mentor, but fortunately God gave me an accountability partner instead. Keep praying, He wants that for you.
    Jennifer - So glad you've been able to try confessing your sins to other believers and found freedom in the process. God doesn't want us to give ammo to the enemy. 
    Joshua - When we take off our masks, we are even more beautiful because we are then clothed with the righteousness of Christ instead of our own filthy rags. 

    Jul 09, 2019

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The Scrapbooked Bible Study: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

An editor for Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Katy Kauffman is also a Bible study author who loves to write about the treasures of Scripture. Her Bible studies focus on winning life's spiritual battles, and her blog shares snippets of "scrapbooked" encouragement. Learn more about The Scrapbooked Bible Study, and follow Katy's blog to receive weekly posts. 

 

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