Tag Archives: Spiritual growth

Nobody Likes “Accountability”

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

With all the recent news from the Sports world about Tiger Woods and the Chris Henry tragedy, and with church and political leaders continuing to behave badly in very public ways,  “accountability” seems to be on the forefront of people’s minds.  It seems we all believe that accountability, as a concept, is a good thing.  All of us are for it, even would insist on it…as long as it applies to someone else.  But let somebody suggest that perhaps we ourselves (i.e., you or I) might benefit from a little more accountability in our lives and suddenly it’s a nasty idea, ill-conceived, feels judgmental, and who are they to make such a suggestion anyway?  I suppose it is just a matter of perspective.

In my line of work as a church mediator, I talk and teach quite a bit about Christian accountability.  It may well be the most common subject I address.  Scripture is replete with references to it.  As Christians, we really are to be involved in one another’s lives.  Think about Nathan/David, Paul/Peter, Paul/Timothy, Peter/Ananias/Saphira, and the list goes on and on.  Think about Matthew 18, Galatians 6:1, Philippians 4, I Corinthians 5, James 5, and the list goes on and on and on.

But, interestingly, even though the Bible talks a great deal about the concept of accountability, I haven’t found an English translation yet that actually uses the word “accountability”.  In that way, it is much like the word “evangelism”…lots of scriptural support for it, but the word isn’t actually used in scripture.

And so, this leads to my quagmire.  Maybe you can help.

What better word can we use to describe the process by which I …

Unity is the Pathway to Doctrinal Purity

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14

Over the years, as my passion for unity in the church has intensified, some of my more conservative brothers and sisters in Christ have expressed concern that too much emphasis on unity could actually hurt the church, especially in the area of doctrinal purity.  The premise is, I think, that we can have complete unity or we can have doctrinal purity, but we cannot have both, i.e., that the two concepts are somehow mutually exclusive.  That concern is understandable, even predictable…but badly misplaced.  The call to Biblical unity is not a call to some sort of compromise in order to get along.  Moreover, maintaining doctrinal purity should not mean constant pushing and shoving to keep people in line.  Some in the church believe that, in order to keep our doctrine pure, we’ve got to step on a few toes and bang a few heads.

As confrontational as he was capable of being, I believe Paul would disagree with this “bang a few heads” mentality.

In Ephesians 4, Paul writes one of his most complete lessons on unity in the church.  He calls us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, he reminds us of some things we can all agree about, he teaches us about Spiritual gifts, and he gives some very practical counsel about our life in community with each other.  He paints a clear picture for us of unity, and in the middle of that discussion, he …

I Think That I Shall Never See…

Tuesday Re-mix – this is a popular post from last year, updated and rerun for your consderation and comments.

I think that I shall never see…

…a Christian lovely as a tree (with apologies to Joyce Kilmer). The big, strong, deep rooted tree  is the image to which I am continuously drawn when I think of “growing” in a relationship with Christ. You know, the Psalm 1 “tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither.” It is the image of perfect health.

It is also the illustration we used  in our Sunday morning Bible Study (you can find us here) as we talked about the “Spiritual disciplines” of the Christian life.  One of the disciplines we studied was  the discipline of giving. Once again, just the preparation of the lesson alone brought me great conviction. Here is the passage that got me:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:6-7

I was brought up in the church. I was taught about giving at a very early age. I have been a fairly faithful “giver” pretty much all of my adult life. I have done it in (very small) part as an act of worship, but much more so out of a sense of “it’s just the right thing to do”. I see it as a part of God’s economy. If God says it’s a good way to handle my finances, that’s enough for me. I saw Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments as a child, and God has had my attention ever since …

The Ultimate Love Triangle

Tuesday Remix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and rerun for your consideration and comments.

O.K. The true ultimate love triangle is the Holy Trinity. But be honest, if I had called this post “A Pretty Important Love Triangle” would you have kept reading?

love-triangleEntering into a walk with Christ is necessarily entering into community with his followers. It’s part of the deal–it’s in the contract. It is a non-negotiable as far as He is concerned. And so, an important love triangle is formed between you, me and Him. It is a love triangle that is designed to change me (and you). This change process is a life-long process. The more “in touch” I become with this process and the more I subject myself to it, the more I change. Some call this process “Spiritual Formation”. Others call it “Spiritual Transformation”. Whatever you call it, it involves you, me, God and our influences on each other.

In His most detailed discussion of Christian accountability and how this change process takes place in the life of a believer (Matthew 18–the entire chapter) Christ takes advantage of a “teachable moment” in the lives of the disciples to help them begin to grasp what His “church” was going to look like and how it was going to operate. In that lesson, Jesus discusses several critical “steps” to the process of holding one another accountable, steps that you have probably read about and studied for yourself. We can discuss those very practical elements to this topic in other future posts. For now, let’s just focus on the very first point of that lesson (Matthew 18:1-4).

Being a part of God’s kingdom requires that you change and become childlike. It requires that you enter into relationships with other believers and become …