By Pastor Gary Keith
Our church recently invited a nationally known speaker to come and share a message to the men at a breakfast. He did a great job. He was funny and inspiring and challenging. He shared from his life experience in ways that men could easily relate to. It was a great morning.
I had the privilege of meeting him for breakfast the day before. We had a great time getting to know each other. During our time together he asked me a thought-provoking question. He asked how he could make a lasting impact on the men he speaks to.
He realized that as he travels from place to place and speaks, that most men would only remember about 7% of what he said the next day. And the reality is probably most of the men will not make any life-changing decisions as a result.
My answer to him reflected my own experience.
I was raised in a church setting. I went to church twice on Sunday and every Wednesday night. That’s just what our family did. No doubt this has influenced my life. I became a Christian while I was young and I learned how to follow Jesus in this church. But there was a point in my life when I had to assess what influenced my life more. Was it listening to weekly sermons and special speakers or being in an intentional relationship with other men focused on growing in my faith?
As I gave an answer to our speaker at that breakfast, it was clear that my life was most affected by connecting with other men in an ongoing intentional relationship focused on growing as a Christian.
I didn’t know how he would respond to that answer but to my surprise, he also talked about his life and about how he regularly meets with two other men for the purpose of Christian accountability.
Before I go any further let me say, I would never stop the intake of great preaching or listening to great speakers teaching me and inspiring me to walk the walk of faith. But I can easily trace significant life transformation to my times with a very small group of men who I meet with on a regular basis.
These are men with whom a trusted relationship has been built. Men who are different from me. Men who are as committed to spiritual growth as I am. Men who I can count on in times of need, spiritual or otherwise. Men who will pray with me and I with them about real life issues. Men who are willing to ask me the hard questions that I need to be asked.
There are several passages of scripture that support this type of relationship.
For example, Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” I Thessalonians 5:11 says to, “…encourage one another and build each other up…” And lastly a very familiar one from Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 that says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up…”
Let me encourage you to find a friend or two with whom you can build an intentional relationship designed to help you remain faithful to your spiritual walk. Once you find this person or persons then commit to meet on a regular basis (I meet every other week during lunchtime). Be patient and realistic about building trust with each other. This takes time and a willingness to both give and receive trust.
Don’t give up; remain consistent.
I’ve had a couple of relationships that didn’t work out and I wanted to just give up, but I’m glad I didn’t because the impact of having a Christian accountability relationship that works has been incredibly life-changing.
You see, I believe that in this world of challenge and temptation we need each other in personal and intentional ways to help keep us where we want to be. If you want to grow in your passionate pursuit of life in Jesus, Christian accountability is indispensable. So my question to you is this, “who’s holding you accountable?”