Discipleship is true community, getting into each others lives, no skirting around issues or disagreements. If someone asks, “How are you?” do you say fine” quickly asking back “how are you?” to deflect the focus back onto them so you don’t have to tell them what a rotten week you’ve had? (They didn’t REALLY want to know anyway, did they?).
It’s about digging a little deeper and going beneath the surface and getting behind the mask.
Last time we looked at 7 pointers that will help us to get closer to and be disciples of Jesus, things such as; understanding grace and salvation, prayer, bible study, witnessing etc. These are all excellent, but is anyone close enough to you to check you are doing these things? Somebody that, as proverbs 18 v 24 says “sticks closer than a brother”? Someone you can count on to be honest with you?
In my opinion, true discipleship begins with accountability. Our great example, as with all these things, is Jesus. He was very careful who he chose (spending a night in prayer just before calling them). He then lived with these disciples for 3 years, sharing food and shelter, teaching them as he goes along by example and through every day situations.
“All very well for Him” you may say, “but my life is a lot more complicated, I have; commitments, family a job a mortgage and bills to pay, life was so much simpler then.” This may of course be true, but in the rush and pace of 20th century/western lifestyle, we need to find a way through. We need to take hold of the principle and take the tough step towards accountability and it is tough, especially when we are forced to bring out in the open, things which before were kept in secret. Exposure to the light is never comfortable when you’ve been in a dark place, but when our lives adjust to the light; we will feel all the better for it and also less likely to compromise, knowing someone is going to ask us honest questions.
So where are you going to start?
The first question is “Do you belong to a church?” if not, you need to find one, and don’t look for the perfect one because if you join it, it won’t be perfect any longer. Look for one that teaches the bible, that talks about Jesus a lot and welcomes the Holy Spirit. If you have any questions, please contact me. I’ll try and help you find one. If you are already in a church, are you involved in the life of the church? Are you running with perseverance the race marked out for you? Or are you sitting on the edges? There is ready made accountability in serving together with others, such as; welcome team, kids work, serving coffees etc
If you are not regularly attending a small group or community group, you are missing the opportunity for accountability, for discipleship and the opportunity to grow effectively. The Christian life was never meant to be lived on its own. God’s heart has always been for a people, His people and as it says in Psalm 68 v 5-6
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families”
Consider this week who you can be accountable with. Next time in this series, I will look at some good accountability questions you can ask each other. Speak to you then.