We have been studying the difference between the new child of God and the childish Christian. I am sure it is no accident that the required reading I am immersed in at present gave me fresh perspective to add to the subject. While reading Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, which I would highly recommend to any leader, the section on accountability was very well stated. Paul David Tripp is the author and while what I am posting is not directly his words, I cannot take the credit because his thoughts are woven in and through out.
He stated the reasoning for supporting growing Christians through loving accountability is to ensure new motive, new purposes and new goals are reached. He also stated what I call stepping stones of what the journey might look like: guide, teach, encourage, warn, convict, and strengthen them. These things we must allow the Lord to be holding us accountable for as well, or we will act out of His character toward them.
God tells us the truth and is willing to enable every letter of it to transpire in our life. At the point of our awareness He can go no further unless we are willing to BE convicted, forgive others so we will have a space for the forgiveness He is extending. If we are, He will restore us and reconcile relationships out from Him. We must realize outside of Him and us, they must also allow Him to convict, forgive and restore them. We automatically will be reconciled together, because He is in them and we are in Him, making us unified.
Tripp also talked about God's pursuit of accountability, and how we do it a bit differently. Again, this is based on his word, not exact: The accountability of God is not like a private detective; although He does see everything. He is not there to be our conscience; although His truth convicts our heart and minds. He is not hovering over us forcing us to obey Him; although there are natural uncomfortable, even possibly fatal consequences to our disobedience. Nor does He chase us down to capture us and drag us back; yet He never leaves us or stops attempting to protect us all along the way.
Without accountability we all can feel comforted by simply discussing and accepting that we need to change; but never actually achieve change unless we find a benefit or comfort from it. Without accountability we can become trapped in talking about our changes because we NEED someone to show us how to do what we cannot yet understand; sometimes we have no idea what practical directions to go in and lose energy on our own.
People who are childish, rebellious, selfish or whatever we would like to label it, can go through much of the journey because it is working for them. They are receiving encouragement, praise and the much needed relief from exposure of less than desirable behaviours. The real test of spiritual growth is when something comes along and collides with what they want; what fruit blossoms? If they are rebuked or warned, due to proper accountability, will they blast you, pout, throw all their toys down and go home? Or will they humble themselves under the mighty wing of His care: rest, enabling power, courage to continue toward righteousness.
We must remember they are free to go and we must allow them to wander away, if that is their choice. If they return and desire to do things differently and keep moving forward, make sure you have stayed with Him as well. God will not stop with any of us until He is full immerced in every single moment of our lives and relationships. Why? Because we call ourselves Christians and His honor is at stake.
As believers we can depend on the interpretation of the Holy Spirit to iron out any distortions. But what about those who can't perceive His truth and have nothing like Him in front of their eyes? This is why He cares.Most of the time, if we were to be honest, we don't really care enough. We do not really think it is our responsibility, after all they can go to church or read a bible. Most of the time we act as though it is an obtrusion to getting where and what WE want.
God rebukes and warns us for not caring about what He cares about. He calls us unbelieving and childishly irresponsible; because after all the only business we have living on earth is to reach others once we know. If it is just too much of an effort for us to continually live accounted for then He also says "opt out" and I will stop. If we opt out, then honestly we were never really in. Those folks will think I am taking this a bit too far, but these are not my words - they are His.
God convicted me, I turned and have been rebuked, forgiven and taught many times over. The only hope we have of having a different life, world and future for others is to stop allowing the deterioration starting within ourselves. If we move differently then everything around us must make room for it or move out. That is how God ordained it.
Every second you move you can give room to His force or give up the ghost so to speak. If it is just too great a price to pay for lack of momentary comfort then lay down and let it keep you down yet another day. God gives us new mercies every morning and gives us a space to reveal His honor. We will either honor Him or honor our self. Those are the only two choices. I don't know about you but I am no different than most people and there is nothing THAT spectacular about me that I should be honored. I am not an honorable person, being above reproach in all my ways - but I am righteous, because of the One I honor and He thinks that is glorious.
May we abide in the Spirit so we will not fulfill the desires of our weak humanity - There is no glory in that, in fact it is plain common ground.
For other posts relating to this topic click the links below. Also read the book of Galatians in the New Testament.
Something That Stood Out From The Crowd
Why Not Me
Take A Do Over, But Do It Differently
Give Them to the Devil, That's His Thing
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