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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Friday, August 22, 2008
Brief, But Critical, Thoughts On Accountability.
Have you ever wondered, or better yet, explored how false religions maintain their external moral sheen? I mean, if Christ actually saves Christians from sin while other "faiths" just hide sin behind religious facade -- how then do false religions produce outwardly moral people?

Before I scrape the surface - let me say up front that I think accountability, for all its good intentions relies upon the fear and guilt of fessing up to failure to motivate us to holiness, rather than turning to God in faith and being sanctified in the same manner in which we were saved.

There I said it.

How do other religions produce holiness? Do you clean the inside of their cup? No. They clean the outside. How does one go about cleaning the outside of the cup? Suppression. By the strength of our own will, either solo, or enhanced by guilt and fear of failure - we simply stop doing what we want to do.

Has anything changed in us? Are we holier? Of course not. If sanctification were entirely external, there would be no teaching on cleaning the inside of the cup. This is, I think, where many Christians go astray in their pursuit of holiness. They do not pursue it by faith, but by works of the flesh - such as through accountability.

Men, do you have a problem with porn and ... shall we say, auto-erotica? Instead of whitewashing your failures to some accountability partner week after week after week - try repenting, and by repenting, I mean turning away from your sin and towards Christ just like you did when you were saved. If you can't do it, recognize the problem - the problem is that while you claim to love Jesus with your lips, your heart betrays you, because it goes after every foul thing there is. Do you think your accountability friend is going to set you free from that? How about fear and failure? Personal loathing? How about habit breaking? Get real with God, if you think God is failing you in the help department - if you think it isn't working because God is dropping the ball - tell Him so. Tell Him you expect him to do such and such, and that He isn't living up to your expectations. Or at least get to the place where you begin to hate sin instead of love it, and are willing to cry out to be free from it, and not just free from it's penalty. Stop playing at being holy - stop trying to get holy as if God were keeping it from you. Are you hungry for righteousness? You --will-- be filled, if you aren't filled, you aren't hungry for it.

The trouble is we do all sorts of pointless, useless, dead works to try and tear down spiritual strongholds - and that keeps us so busy that we haven't really noticed that two years, five years, or ten years of failure have gone by. Did we justify ourselves? Do we then go and sanctify ourselves? If God has begun the work, do we keep it going? Do we finish it?

I confess, this is a sore spot for me. So much of the Christianity I see around me does not come from scripture, but from long standing habit and tradition handed down to them so that they swallow it without even sniffing it to know where it came from.

Yes - we are to pray for one another - to confess our faults to one another for that purpose - not the purpose of shaming ourselves into obedience, but for the purpose of calling others into seeking God's power on our behalf to deliver us from temptations - from sin's strangle-hold wherever it may be found. When you get serious about sin, and about being in fellowship with God - you start to care less about what people think, and you start to seek out serious prayer - you want people to pray for you, you want them to pray without ceasing until the ground upon which you have put your foot down becomes yours - you begin to see yourself as taking the promise step by step - not in your own strength, but in the lord's strength, not alone, but as one individual in the Lord of Host's army.

I know that when I ask for prayer some people will heave me up to the Lord day after day after day - striving in prayer for me - and I know who they are too - people who have been released by similar prayers from others who are serious. I know likewise that many will pray once and forget about it. God never answers prayers anyway... right?

I love it if I have a brother in the Lord who has walked before me and been delivered, who is willing to hear me confess that I sin and to listen as I lament my failures - not to encourage me by shame to do better (or else!), but to offer such encouragement as is appropriate - reminding me that it is God's work, reminding me that the devil is going to attack me by causing me to doubt - to drive me away from the source of deliverance - faith. To take my hand in prayer and in fellowship and walk with me towards the path of faith - and to walk with me in that path - yes, there is a place for confession and prayer and contrition and calling out for help - but this is not what most of us mean or think of when we speak of Accountability™

We tend to think of accountability as meeting with someone else in order to expedite personal holiness through "holding one another accountable" for sin. We think this is a good and right thing to do because it seems very serious, and (after all) we're trying to overcome sin in our life - and isn't that commendable? Yet what we end up doing is coming together, and cleverly lying about how we have been struggling with sin over the week, in order to justify the fact that we haven't had lasting victory in years. Then we pray for one another in the most superficial way imaginable, and do it all again the next week.

Now I know some of you have had only wonderful, edifying experiences with accountability, and I am happy for you. But I think accountability - at least as it is typically practiced, is bunk - a work of men and not of God.

I am open to be corrected in my understanding however.


posted by Daniel @ 4:58 PM  
  • At 6:03 PM, August 29, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the same way.Being honest to God about what your thinking is the way to go.Confessing to God if we feel unable to deal with a sin, and asking Jesus to save us can bring deliverance. good thoughts

  • At 9:57 AM, August 31, 2008, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    In Romans 7 we are entreated to listen to the man who is beside himself. By the end of Romans 8 the concluding thought of the one who said, "I will serve the Lord with my mind," "nothing in all of creation is able to separate us from the love of God..."

    Often men speak of their victories in Christ and instead of Paul's approach they say to themselves, "The very thing that I want to do, that I do." When in the reality of Scripture we have the "who has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing...accepted in the beloved." When we begin to think that we have gotten the victory we immediately forget, "My grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in your weaknesses...Therefore I will rather boast in my infirmities."

    What we have we have received. If it is victory, then victory, if defeat then defeat, but in all this we are more than conquerers. What relief!

    The question then, who is it that has more than you? Is it the man who is weak in the faith, beset by sin upon whom the power of the Lord is great? Or, is it the man who because he is unburdened, being graced by God with purity, the power of God is lightly spinkled? So many believe that because they have not struggled against the besetting sins, or that if they have and have overcome, that some how they are more than another. But wait, take heed if you think you stand, because you stand like all others by the grace of God. Therefore, we are to esteem others better than ourselves.

    Do you see your brother who is poorly dressed and seat him in the back? While others are dressed in gold and jewels and fine linens and you seat them among the approved? In this you do wrong, for you go to law with your brother and that before the world to see that you discriminate and divide among yourselves. How can the world see your works then since you proclaim grace and demand the law?

    The reality is that those who are least comely in the body of Christ are afforded the greater honor.

    To whom do we make our appeal for a clean conscience then? Ourselves because of our long prayers? Or is it that Christ has already made us clean by the washing of his Word?

    Should we go on sinning? By all means no, Christ died to set us free from sin. Then we pursue not what we have yet to get, but that thing which we have been called to but that not of ourselves, it is a free gift, though yet to be revealed we know that he is faithful to his own promise, the giftings and callings of God distributed to each severally as he chooses. In him then let us rest knowing that all things work for the good even the necessary scourgings of the Father and do not cease stirring one another to good works, but also, do not forget to wash your brother's feet.

  • At 4:15 PM, September 05, 2008, Blogger Marcian said…

    I am reminded of your words about having the ground that the Lord has promised us. Working toward holiness is just that: work. We put forth all the effort as is humanly possible, but that is not what ultimately produces the change in us. It is the faith we have in God that our desire shown by our efforts, that are coupled with our prayers for relief from affliction of sin, will be blessed by God. We do not rely on the power of the flesh to kill itself. We rely on the power of God to give us the desire to mortify the flesh, and then to give us the power to carry it out.

  • At 9:18 PM, September 05, 2008, Blogger donsands said…

    "So much of the Christianity I see around me does not come from scripture,"

    Scripture. What a treasure we have from the god, who names the stars, and knows every cancer cell, where it is.
    Or as RC Sproul said, "There's not a maverick molecule in the universe that is not under the Sovereign Lord's control."

    Excellent post. Thanks for the grace. It's all about grace; something that we can't accept. But if we do, life sure becomes sweet.

  • At 5:33 AM, September 06, 2008, Blogger Kim said…

    I had an accountability partner once, and she's is still one of my closest friends. But it seems so mechanical all of the time, that I finally gave up on it.

  • At 11:46 PM, September 06, 2008, Blogger Br'er Shaygetz said…

    Thank you.

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