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.

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Bible Application for Reading, Teaching, or Discussion Groups

Refusing to Sin

Sometimes refusing to sin becomes very difficult, especially if the sin is a well-established pattern of attitude, thinking, speaking, or behavior. It feels like a kind of slavery. Romans Chapter 6 reminds us of our reality as Christians, and exhorts us to break free of the habits of sin and to replace them with the practices that are consistent with a heartfelt devotion to God. ...

 

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Bible Outlines for Reading, Teaching, or Discussion Groups

God’s Enriching Work vs. Sin’s Damaging Work

God works today in the hearts and minds of His children to conform our whole way of thinking, feeling, and acting to be consistent with His love, His character, and His purposes for our lives. He is working to enrich the quality of our souls, our lives, and our influence.

Our choices and decisions help or hinder that process. Certain mindsets and practices are called “sin” in the Bible because they work against loving and respecting God and people. They oppose the good practices that build healthy and satisfying relationships. They waste our time and energy. They hinder healthy relationships, and ultimately they leave our hearts dissatisfied.

So God gives us ...

 

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