Posts Tagged ‘Accountability’

In Joy and Sorrow-Pretending

In Joy and Sorrow-Pretending (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1956 and the group was the Platters. The song was “The Great Pretender.” It was popular in that year and unfortunately still popular today but there are different words. It may not be easy to detect in others but we recognize it in us. We know ourselves too well.

Jesus knew that the evil one would focus on wrecking our life if we got serious about following Him. He would use multiple strategies all of which were designed to steal the freedom and life Jesus gave us. Being more clever than we could ever imagine, satan throws many darts our way over the years and it becomes easier to give in to them and pretend and flash the same smile or serious look whenever it is necessary. In John 17:15 Jesus prayed for those in the first century and us today that we would be protected from the evil one. Some of that protection comes from other followers who love us enough to ask us hard but necessary questions to help us stay on track. We never outgrow the need for this.

Paul picked up on it in 1 Corinthians 15:58 and 16:13 saying we should stand firm and not to let anything knock us off of the road. These discomforts, heartaches or painful events are our teachers and there are many classes we must take to become the followers Jesus is after. We don’t have to pretend, we don’t have to give in to the junk satan has up his sleeve for us. He knows we are going to win the game but he puts up quite a fight.

Do you have someone in your life who will not let you get away with shallow answers to those questions that develop our life with Jesus and ministry with others?

community

community (Photo credit: planeta)

“I have the right t to do what I want to do, be who I want to be and have what I want to have.”  (1 John 2:15 & 16) Almost every American would agree with this because of our culture’s focus on individualism. Jesus hits hard at this prevalent attitude among people regardless of their religious or political persuasion. He constantly defines commitment in terms that offend our pursuit of what we want or think we need or deserve. His focus on people in need or who are marginalized is so constant it is scary.

The early church knew what Jesus was after, especially when it came to caring for one another. Community was more than a contemporary word thrown around in our innovative new church plants. It meant more than doing a Bible study with a few people once a week. There was real life stuff happening every day or throughout the week that was shared with one another. Needs presented by someone were met without hesitation by others.

Was that really like it was? If so, can we recapture it in our drive by mentality where we drop into one another’s life like picking up an order of fries at McDonalds drive through? Something is truth when it is not defined by culture but by God. It defies the busyness, self-centeredness or anything else that seeks to justify a lifestyle contrary to what the Bible defines as church.

Acts 4:32-35 introduces us to a deeper meaning of ownership and meaningful commitment to one another. There is no place for superficiality here. These people recognized that we are at war with an enemy who seeks to not only create disunity but also to cause us to think and live apart from one another. He doesn’t mind our occasional bumping into one another but he knows the power of people on mission together. There is unleashed power in our life being connected to the Holy Spirit but it is multiplied as we live in community.

real people

real people (Photo credit: the|G|™)

Haven’t you ever asked someone

a question about something and realized somewhere during their response you just wanted to get in a fast car and leave as quickly as you could? You just wanted to know about their weekend but instead you got the history of how their parents neglected them and the 15 things that were wrong with their kids.

And what if you asked someone in your community group what they really thought about how you handled an embarrassing question someone asked you during the group? And if they said that you were way too defensive and didn’t seem to want to let them into your life, what would you think about that?

If we are teachable and want to make a difference in someone’s life, we will not set boundaries on what questions are legal and others that are way across the line. We will also give honest input to others about our life or theirs. But who makes these kinds of commitments? Anyone determined to follow Jesus without reservation enters into meaningful accountable relationships with others. Of course some issues need to be discussed in private, but if we are serious about discipleship we put it all on the table.

Jesus did not hesitate to explain the hypocrisy of some religious guys in Matthew 23:27; and there’s Paul’s explanation of a confrontation with Peter in Galatians 2:11. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul also explained how he loved these people so much that he not only had a Bible study with them about the gospel, but he shared his life with them.

I remember a very painful time in my life in which I shared with several people what was going on and because of that, one person got with me the next week and told me that because I was honest with the group, he now felt he could tell me something about himself he had not told anyone else. What if I had a boundary that only allowed people so far into my life?

Do you have any boundaries that need to be erased?