Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
Relationships with friends are an important part of our life, but there are different kinds of friends. Some friends are temporary for a time in our life. Other friends are a permanent fixture.
There are other differences besides how long a friendship lasts. Some friends are the kind of friends we socialize. Others we can vent to when life is hard or share our joys with when life is good. These aren’t the kind of friends we’re discussing in this challenge.
Your challenge today is to develop accountable friendships. Accountability is being responsible to someone for your actions, or being “answerable” to someone else. We all need a friend who we give permission to hold us accountable for our actions. A Christian who is not accountable to anyone is someone who may fail when temptation comes.
Here is how not to choose an accountability friend.
Steps for choosing an accountability friend:
Pray: If you’re not sure who to ask to be your accountability friend, pray and ask God to show you.
Be Careful Who You Choose: 5 Tips for Choosing an Accountability Partner
Meet with your friend: This is probably the hardest part of the process. You’ll need to meet with the person you’ve chosen and be brutally honest about why you need accountability in your life. That means you’ll have to bring those hidden sins and temptations nobody knows about into the light. But when you do that, you’ll have taken the largest step toward your healing and freedom in Christ. I know because I had this discussion with a friend about five years ago, and even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it changed my life and my walk with God.
James 5:18 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Set up guidelines:
Once you have an accountability friend, you’ll want to set up guidelines for how often you meet and what is discussed. Here are some guidelines you might set.
Decide how often to meet. At first you may need to meet more often like once a week. Once this becomes a part of your life, you might text each other every week and meet once a month.
Set up online computer accountability software. This software doesn’t block questionable sites. Instead it sends reports to your friend when you look at any questionable sites. I believe that this software is important for every Christian, even those who have never been tempted this way, because the Internet is always throwing out temptations. This software is also available for your I-phone and I-pad. Here are three site that have this kind of software.
Decide what questions will be asked. This will depend on where your level of temptation is greatest.
Will the accountability be mutual? That is something that needs to be discussed upfront.
The meetings should be balanced. This shouldn’t only be a confession session. Encouragement should be a part of it.
Consequences should be discussed. If you struggle in a certain area for a long time and aren’t making progress, you should discuss ahead of time if you want to give your accountability partner permission to “tell on you”. If it ever comes to this, the accountability partner should tell only who you have discussed ahead of time, and he or she should give you a heads up first.
It should be clearly understood that if you are in a dangerous situation or breaking the law, the accountability partner has a right to report you if he or she deems it appropriate.
This will probably be one of the most difficult challenges you’ll have during this 30 days, but it will change your life and grow your relationship with God.