Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Okay, so what thoughts do ya'll have on accountability? I would really like to know. My old church believed very strongly in accountability and having accountability groups. Confessing areas of sin and struggle, and then having someone hold you accountable as you press on to 'grow' or defeat sin areas.  I will be honest, my husband recently told me I should be accountable to someone for my actions, or for my lack of actions. I realized, you know, that means accountability is more like a drill sergeant to keep you in line. Or at least that is how he meant it, and honestly I think that is how a lot of Christians mean it. The funny thing is the more you want to 'do' well and not have any area of sin or struggle in your life the more you will, if taught this principle, embrace accountability. At least that is how I see it.......I mean why on earth do pastors need to push accountability? What are they afraid of? And why can't they learn to trust the very life of Christ that now indwells every believer? And why oh why do they constantly regard everyone after the flesh? Are we our flesh, or are we who God says we are? 
So, here is my main question, what of accountability for believers? Do we really need to confess our sins and shortcomings with others? Is it something that is clear in Scripture? What about the Holy  Spirit? I thought we could trust him to lead us into all truth. My personal opinion is that I can share my life with my friends, not just some random person that I barely know in a group setting, and let them speak openly and honestly into my life. However, I would only do this if I trust the person and know that they clearly know the truth of the Gospel and who they are in Christ. Otherwise, I may get a lot of confusing advice just to fix me. I think I will stick with the Holy Spirit as my guide, first and foremost. And when I need to talk things out with a trustworthy friend, I will. I value my friend's thoughts. I think God can use others in our life to share truth. However, I do not believe I 'have' to have accountability. Also, I would much rather have my friends speak truth into my life reminding me of who I am, despite my struggles. My hope as I speak with my friends is that I will always point their gaze upward and be of great encouragement. Not try to fix them, because in God's eyes they are already fixed. Amen!


Jamie said...

WOW! Good topic...

For me: all accounts were "cleared" at the cross and, you're right, my actions aren't to become my focus, His are.

Better than pointing our gaze upward: turn it INWARD to His life IN US!!! Please, tell me OVER & OVER WHO I NOW AM IN CHRIST! Righteous, New Creation, Tree of Righteousness,...keep my gaze on the cross so I can KNOW that I have DIED and it's NOT I who live but Christ living in me!

Speak TRUTH into my life not death & judgment and condemnation.

The Holy Spirit convicts the believer of righteousness. Do we think God intended for us as a Body to convict ourselves or each other of SIN? BAH!

The Lewis Family said...

Ooh, that one word gets me going. . . Yep, that would be a good form of control. Nice idea, when God can't be trusted. The thing is, accountability in it's very essence is impossible to truly enforce. People lie. People can listen to lies and believe them and remain quiet. So the "accountability partner" has to either take you at your word or not. Accountability can be forced on the outside, but it don't change anything on the inside.

Of course, the common person is just plain stupid and cannot depend on Holy Spirit alone and needs other people to stand in place of Jesus. . .

Either a person is open and vulnerable and honest or a person isn't. You can't force honesty. You can't force anything pure. Or it wouldn't be pure.

I have nothing against sharing thing with good friends that you would like to be encouraged in - such as hearing the truth of what Jesus has done and being reminded of it over and over. However, God is more than capable of reminding us, and stirring us up. He may well use unique means: such as blogs. But to be honest, the reason I go to blogs that I go to is to be reminded and pointed back to my Source. And to fellowship with like-minded believers.

True mature friends naturally will help another friend out if they see the need. It is the natural outflow of a relationship with Jesus. Accountability to me is just a big religious word. It just reaks of law enforcement. . . If my husband suggested accountability I would have to ask him why it would have to someone other than him in the first place.

I am finding that the more I want to see fixed in my husbands life, the more he runs away. It is because he knows he is inadequate in ways that I have desired him to be adequate and he is incapable of fixing himself. Not to mention that when the emphasis is on ones Self it is no longer on Jesus. So, more and more I have come to a place where I let go of it all. all my frustrations with him and worries for him. . . Gone. And I just place Him in my papa's hands and voila, taken care of. No more worries for me, no more fixing him to get what I want out of the relationship. . . Much more peace for both of us. I am still learning this. :) It is too easy to see each others faults, than see them in the finished work of Jesus. . .

Ah bliss, healing comes from the healer. . . no matter which tool He chooses to use.

jul said...

I think I'll do a post on it, this is a good topic, one that's greatly misunderstood and used the church world over to control and manipulate people and keep them down in the dust of humiliation and shame.

And funnily enough, some of the pastors so intent and keeping people accountable are doing whatever the heck they want to people, destroying lives and teaching lies with 0 'accountability'.

lydia said...

Jamie ~ Yes, yes, yes!!! All accounts are cleared!! Done! Finished!! We set our minds on things above, NOT on earthly things.......Yup let's talk about who we are now, and let's always look at the finished work and let's trust the Holy Spirit to convict us of our gift of righteouness therefore leading us into all truth!! As my friend Chris Welch says, "We can trust this Divine Life we have"

lydia said...

So tell me how you really feel Becky :) I am so with you, when we regard our spouses after their flesh, or anyone for that matter, it's a disaster. We are not who we used to be, nor are we 'our flesh'. I am learning it's a difficult line to walk at times, being honest about what things our spouses do that hurt us or trouble us, and just trusting God to work in us and in them. I do not like my faults being pointed out to me that is for sure, I am already hard enough on myself. I am not my faults, I am the righteousness of God in Christ!! And if the Holy Spirit isn't convicting us of sin, why should we convict others of sin. Hmpfh!
"Accountability reaks of law enforcement" - Yes I think you are so right!!

lydia said...

Julie, go for it, post away! I look forward to reading further thoughs on this.........

Joel B. said...

Yeah, great stuff everybody! Becky, I see the same stuff in my own marriage. If we try to "fix" each other, it drives each other away. What is much better is the encouragement of each other in who we are in Christ.

All accounts are truly cleared! What I'm liking about what people are saying here is the talking out of stuff with close, confidential friends who understand the finished work of Jesus. We can truly build one another up and 'spur one another on toward love and good deeds' and share our shortcomings with each other... not for the purpose of guilt and condemnation, but for the purpose of helping one another walk as who we truly already are!

When James said "confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed," I believe it was not accountability he was talking about, nor a planned "sin confession session"... but rather a way for us to release pressure with one another and be healed of the burdens and pressure that our shortcomings can sometimes leave us with. Sometimes it can be good to get things out in the open... and again, only with trusted friends who point to the life of Jesus always!!!

Anonymous said...

I was going to share thoughts and scripture similar to what Joel already shared. I think churches build these groups (accountability, discipleship, etc.) to bring churchmembers in a situation where they are interacting on a regular basis so that the above will happen, bearing each others burdens, loving one another, speaking the truth in love....
Like you are saying, we NEED to go to Jesus first, then we minister or receive/give counsel to our close friends. NOT that every church member has to be your BEST friend and like minded, BUT how can we know each others needs and love on each other if we don't take the time to get to know each other. I recognize that some groups might seem/and are extremely legalistic...but I think to be totally against meeting with a small group of people is on the other extreme. For example, we have small groups at my church. At first, my husband and I resisted (he was on staff at our church at the time) and after a year or so, we started attending one once a month on Friday nights. At first it was awkward and seemed kind of superficial, but now that we have met with these people for 3 years....we know more deeply how to love each other. We do the above: we feel comfortable to share our burdens and love each other and dwell on scripture and Christ together. (And we sure do agree to disagree on alot...but we love each other in Christ!!!!) I don't feel that way towards everyone that I go to church with...but I KNOW I can go to these few. Yes, I have good friends outside my church that know me inside out and we love each other and share burdens and exhort each other. Not that one's love is stronger because of proximity, but what blessings we receive from those who live near us when we allow them to love on us!!! We can demonstrate such physical love and meet tangible needs to our neighbors and fellow church members when we are aware of them! I have been the receiver of such amazing love that continues to be an example to non-believers. They witness Christ in us!!! We are called to reprove each other when we sin, in love and gentleness. We are to LOVE each other; when we are not loving each other, we might need someone to remind us we need to be more loving in a certain situation. How can we LOVE each other when we don't spend time together? I think if we are to be "accountable" in ANY way it is to be making sure we are encouraging each other to be in the WORD and spending time with our DADDY. We are not to judge each other, but we are to encourage one another.

Those are my thoughts...I hope my rambling makes sense.
Love, Heather Joy
(Lydia - remember delighting in the fact that we had the same middle name when we were younger:) )

Jamie said...

Lots of great sharing going on here...but I need to say, for ME, please don't feel compelled "in Christian love" to "make sure" I'm "doing" anything other than resting in Christ and the power of His life in me. The rest is law, subtle maybe, but still law. I don't have to read the Word because I "ought" to; I read it because I hunger for it. I don't have to attend meetings but I might choose to because Christ's love compels me. Let's put the emphasis in the correct place-all on Him and His life manifesting, sometimes, sometimes not, JUDGE NOT, and not one iota on us.

There are no "good" Christians who do the right things and "bad" Christians who don't. No. There are just Christians who all need GRACE, day in and day out. Why do we persist in the mindset that we can somehow have a great idea and help out the life of Christ in us?? Fellowship will happen...LOOK AT US!! LOL :D

lydia said...

So glad you stopped by and joined in. Wow, I appreciate your thoughts, but I am starting to see how church's don't really allow for a lot of organic fellowship to occur, as if they don't trust that people will want to be in relationship with each other. I would much rather let the Holy Spirit lead me into relationships and fellowship naturally than have a church tell me I need to be a part of a small group. Probably why you resisted at first, 'eh. Anyway, I am not against meeting together and having fellowship at all, in fact I am very much eager for it more and more in my life. But not in a context where it is forced from on high, which is how it was in my old church.
But, my post was about accountability. When you get in a relationship with someone or a group for the very purpose of having them 'hold you accountable' for your actions, choices and behaviour. This is not helpful in any way! If anything, tell me about how God sees me, remind me to rest in Him and His finished work and exhort me in the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is the power unto salvation - it's the truth that sets us free, not better behaviour that sets us free. I trust the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth, and I think as believers we need to trust Him for others as well. Too many times people speak when they shouldn't and make an assumption on one's actions and that can do damage. If we see someone struggling with something, which is better to tell them how to fix their problem, or point them to the only solution there is for all mankind for every problem known to man. I think when we exhort the truth, it will have an affect SO much more amazing than we think, but we need to allow time for the Holy Spirit to really work in hearts. So that's my thoughts, based on what you shared. I have been there done that, and while it's not all bad, it can be very harmful having people 'speak into your life' just because they think it's their calling, that can be treading on thin water for sure.
I am curious to know where is this passage that you speak of, about reproving others in love and gentleness. I tried to look it up, but couldn't find it.
Anyway, I am not trying to shoot your thoughts down or anything, I understand where you are coming from. I am just in a very different place these days, having come out of some serious legalism and law based mentalities. You can't mix grace with anything else, it doesn't need to be balanced. In the New Covenant the 'have to's' are off, but 'want to's' will surely rise up in our hearts when we have meditated on the truth that sets us free!!!

Much love ~

(and I had forgotten we had the same middle name, my memories are different, like us dancing in my kitchen in hula skirts to a song from one of my children's praise tapes :)

lydia said...

I love what you shared, as always. I especially enjoyed your thoughts on the James passage. I think it's great when I can share my struggles with a "GRACE" friend, it's true, it does release pressure, especially when they remind me of who I am and how good and faithful God is!! It's like a breath of fresh air!! Yes, point me to Jesus always!!

lydia said...

I think you hit on a key issue. The church thinks they can balance grace and help God out, by creating groups and such to help us grow. We can only grow in authentic relationship with Jesus and with others. The only way we can grow, is by the very life of Christ within us, and being rooted established in grace!!

The church is still too focused on the flesh and fixing it!! Sheesh..........

Rich said...

Lydia Joy,

“The church is still too focused on the flesh and fixing it!! Sheesh..........”

If I might offer a thought here, any time I hear anyone (no criticism intended) using the word ‘church’ in relation to what is out of alignment with our Head-Christ and us His body which IS the church jerks me up straight as they say in Texas!

RELIGION in any flavour is that which IS totally focused on the fleshly activity of any person, and it will never change.
I see it being like this, in every institution even the religious ones we mistakenly call the ‘church’ He our loving Father has His seed alive and well, germinating in many lives, radiating with His beauty!

I am of the persuasion that EVERYTHING outside of Christ is religion in one way or another.

We all love to draw lines (in the sand) of demarcation such as, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Life wants to displace our deathly thinking imo!

If the whole world lies under the influence of the evil one, then what is not contaminated with the father of religions lies? Ergo, we’re in this world but not of it.
As always, I conclude with my favourite saying, “it’s a revelation, not a seminar”!

lydia said...

So what you are saying is, I shouldn't be calling churches/or the institutional church, the actual 'church' the body of Christ? I totally agree..........Thanks again for your thoughts!!!

Rich said...

So what you are saying is, I shouldn't be calling churches/or the institutional church, the actual 'church' the body of Christ? I totally agree..........Thanks again for your thoughts!!!


I'm not asking anyone to adopt what or how I see things, just that imo putting any prefix or suffix to the word church is simply missing the mark.

In not having continued revelation (man shall not live by bread alone, but by feasting on His divine life in us) although starting in the spirit it is often a case whereby we end up trying to see perfection attained by resorting or turning to fleshly endeavors.

In not clinging to our Head, what we have misunderstood as His church is nothing more than a clouded mind which sees nothing as it is.

Phil said...

Great thoughts. It's all a question of what is the gospel, and is the sharing out of Spirit-led, heart transformation, or fleshly behaviour-modification that I kid myself with as I go about to establish my own righteousness which is of law. If it's the latter, I wouldn't be standing fast in the liberty werewith Christ has made me free by bringing my conscience under somebody else who also was living the same way. Then, there's no fruit anyway...Lydia, thanks for the comment on your post below. Blessings to you.

lydia said...

It's cool, I was chuckling when I typed back my reply, you made me think again......I had already to come to that conclusion, but I realized when you said you hear the word church thrown around like it is, you react, - that I use it to refer to the organized church thereby inferring the Body of Christ, well perhaps it's helpful to reconsider how I refer to the 'Body of Christ'. It's a good point you made.
It's so true, I think many christians put too much emphasis and too much of a rush on growth, causing them to resort or turn to fleshly endeavors. Rather than trusting His Divine Life that he so graciously gave to us. And I believe that is what I have been wrestling with myself, based on my last post "Only Believe". Just waiting and trusting.........but more so learning to live in a constant union with Him and not letting my life on this earth be about anything regarding my flesh.
It' true the veil remains in place in many declared christians across the globe...........I know I couldn't 'see' because I had been trusting in my own attempts to live the life that only Christ can, in and through me.

lydia said...

You are most welcome Phil. And I heartily Amen your thoughts on this post!!!

Rich said...

"Just waiting and trusting.........but more so learning to live in a constant union with Him and not letting my life on this earth be about anything regarding my flesh."

I loved what I heard your heart saying!

Too many wnat only what He can do for them, give them, but so few are willing by His grace to go through each day simply wanting Him, to learn of Him, to Know Him!

Is He enough?

lydia said...

Aah, He is indeed MORE than enough........I think I am getting to a place where I want just that, organic relationship with Him, day to day, simply trusting Him and enjoying Him. That's truly my heart, because in Him I find peace no matter what the surface is like!

Joel B. said...

I really do believe that it's the way of the body to be bringing out the Christ in each other. To me, it used to be a very legalistic thing and I strongly resisted any such words, but now I've seen and experienced from a grace-full perspective that there is a lot that we can do and say to one another to build one another up in our true identity in Christ and to encourage one another in the walking/working out of it.

Paul Anderson-Walsh calls the second part of that "the business end of the gospel." The problem with the church today is that they focus solely on teaching works, works, works, principles, principles, principles, rules, rules, rules, etc. That's what the end result of "accountability" is meant to be. Getting people to stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things. But that's not real body life!

Real body life includes loving one another, serving one another. The true end result of body life is faith expressing itself through love. Love, in this respect, is an action word. It's not just "God for me," but it's "me for others." I truly believe that, not through "accountability," but through talking and walking things out together as a body, we can "spur one another on toward love and good deeds."

lydia said...

I agree with you Joel!! I am finding that pure body life is refreshing........I am learning a great deal from all of my grace blogging friends. I think it's clear that a body functions in unity, walking things out together, FOR each other, by faith expressing itself through love. Unfortunately, alot of people have a skewed idea of what love should look like walked out..........it's definitely putting others under the sin management microscope, that's for sure!!! But don't you think that when we GET grace - real body life starts to happen, we don't have to try so hard. Do we have to try hard to move our bodies, to blink our eyes, to walk around, to eat food, to go to the bathroom, to smile, for our hearts to beat and have blood pump through them. This is an organic overflow of the life of Christ in us. Too many churches press for the people to try to look like a body.

Joel B. said...

I like Eugene Peterson's wording in Matthew 11 --- "learn the unforced rhythms of grace." Unforced. Rhythms. Grace. Good stuff, Maynard!


I agree that when people "get" grace they don't have to try so hard. I'd take it even further than that, of course, and say that it's not about "trying" at all, as I'm sure you agree. :)

I think that part of the unforced, natural rhythm of grace, in addition to the main and necessary foundation of building one another up in the truth of grace and in their identity in Christ, is speaking words to one another that effectively say both "that's not Christ in you" and "that's truly Christ in you."

It's not sin management. It's naturally and non-forcibly helping one another as a body unit to "put to death the deeds of the flesh" (Colossians 3:5) and to instead seek the things which are above and to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Rom 13:14). Please read all four verses at the end of Romans 13 (11-14) to see more fully what I'm getting at, as well as Col 3:1-11. There truly is room for talk and admonishment and encouragement in these ways that in no way takes away from the unforced rhythms of grace!

But as we all know, many in the church have taken these passages the wrong way, and have taken the grace out of them and made them into rules. I received an email the other day from some people who are grace walkers, who asked me about the above Colossians passage. This husband and wife are part of a home group which is going through Colossians, and the husband wrote to tell me that the rest of the group is focused on the "rules" and "commands" of this passage. It's sad that people see it that way. The legalistic church only sees rules and commands, and the grace community neglects these words of Paul because they only see legalism - which is not what it is! It's all part of the life of grace!

I simply pointed out to this man the wonderful foundation Paul laid in this epistle about the grace and love of God. Paul gets deep here. Really great foundational stuff to be rooted and established in. It was only after laying the foundation that he began talking about what it looks like when lived out.

So anyway, I think it's absolutely necessary, and an ongoing thing for all of the rest of our lives in Christ, to deepen our roots in the truth of grace, grace, grace and our fully established identity in Christ. And, as part of the unforced rhythms of grace, we can also share these other things with each other. But on track with your post... "accountability" is not the way to go!

lydia said...

Who's Maynard?? :) Anyway, I love what you shared and I agree, no trying, just living out of union with Christ as our source.
I love how you further clarified how the body can operate, based on a foundation of grace and knowing who we are. I don't think it's possible, or helpful, apart from being grounded in grace. Otherwise, it just foster's religion and legalism.
It is true we can say to our brother's and sister's that is not who you are in Christ, when they are stuck on the flesh and struggling. I like that so much better, because it's exhortive, not condemning. It's reminding them who they are. But before we get to that point, I think we need to be patient. Say for example a brother is addicted to drugs, or alcohol and having a hard time quitting. You and I may know that's not God's best for their life, but we also know that if they continue to saturate and reknew their minds in grace they can get set free in time. I think alot of old mindsets and teachings need to be shed off and this can take time. We must know how to wait and trust the Spirit to work in others, before we open our mouths and say anything. I think we must also establish trust with our brother's and sisters too.
Anyway, just some thoughts that came to mind for the general conversation's sake.......I will most definitely take a look at the Scriptures you mentioned. Thanks my brother!!

Joel B. said...

Amen indeed! Patience, and a proper foundation of the truth of grace and our identity is the most necessary thing! And an established relationship of grace-full trust, as you say. I reckon Paul had established that trust with many of those who read his letters, if not personally and face to face, then through his reputation.

Come on, you 80's chick! You know this, don't ya:
Good Stuff Manyard!(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWtiritKccM)

lydia said...

Cute..........nope I never had the pleasure of meeting Maynard in all my tv viewing :)

Joel B. said...

Oh... Ok! It wasn't quite as big as "Where's the Beef?" but I think "Good Stuff Maynard" was at least as big as "I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up!" =D

lydia said...

Okay Joel........read the 2 passages, and while I get the heart of Col. I can see how it could be a big can of worms.
But in the Romans passage, this struck me; 14But (I)put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (J)in regard to its lusts.
Other versions say, clothe yourself with Jesus Christ. So if God already did, how do we clothe ourselves with Christ on this earth?

This is the cry of my heart, to let Christ be seen in me, not because I am so holy or have done anything to obtain that status, but because He is, and I simply partner with Him, by believing it's His life in mine and as mine, so I can easily say, I no longer want to make any provision for the flesh. Putting on Jesus, I am sure gets misconstrued in the church world. It does not mean behaving like Jesus. It means letting Him manifest in you. And we can choose to rest in His life and make choices that will line up with who we are.
Any further thoughs or ways to better express this Joel?...........

Joel B. said...

You're so right, Lydia... the legalists have had a heyday with scriptures like these! They have really taken these verses and made them into "behave like Christ," when I think it's really just as you say, "let His life manifest in you."

Unfortunately (in my opinion), what the grace community has done (and I include myself in this), is we've been 'afraid' of these verses, or we've just plain ignored them, or we've cried "law!" and "legalism!" at the slightest mention of these words.

Two or three years ago my friend Kap and I did a 12 week series on Ephesians on our podcast. I think we moved slowly through 2 or 3 chapters of Ephesians, and then suddenly we came upon words that talked about "conduct" and "behavior" (I looked, and the actual Greek words mean "conduct" and "behavior")... and suddenly we decided to move on to something else. :) I admit that at the time I didn't know what to do with those verses, because I was still trying to shed legalism and to get my head on straight about the foundational verses about grace. And now that I've matured (again, my own opinion... LOL), and have become more deeply rooted and grounded, I see the benefits of those verses, from a standpoint of grace, not legalism. But yet I'm glad we didn't do anything with those verses on our program, because since that time we've both become much more deeply settled that our "ministry" truly is geared toward the "little children" of 1 John, who need constant reassurance of their standing with God and their identity in Him and His never failing love, etc, etc. We realize people have never even had the chance to be free in the "little child" phase, and we want to help them grow in their understanding of their true nature, apart from works.

I say all this for a reason. As Christians we will always need to be reminded and re-reminded and re-re-reminded of those foundational truths. Deeply rooted in them. And there comes a time hopefully that we can become the "young men" and eventually the "fathers" who can readily receive the words of the latter chapters of Ephesians, Colossians, Romans, etc, without crying "foul!"

Paul's progression in his epistles truly is always from the truth of grace/identity doctrine to "what it looks like in our behavior." Of all people, we who understand grace more and more, should have less of a problem with the word "behavior." As "little children" we become solidified in the fact that God's love and grace for us, and His acceptance of us, and His passion for us, is never predicated upon nor dependent upon our behavior. We truly need to be established in that. And then as we mature... in time (as long a time as necessary, with absolutely no pressure)... we can exhort and admonish one another in what our conduct looks like as we "put on Christ" (as His life is manifested in us).

Geez, I'm sorry I'm so long here. At this stage in life I feel I'm finally getting my "voice" for what's been growing in me for some time now. I don't think this is what I'll be focusing on on my blog and in our program, but among friends who are growing with me this may come up. And as always, I have no need for anyone to agree with me. :) And I always accept input from others as well!

lydia said...

I absolutely love what you shared here. And now I think I am starting to 'see' better, where you were coming from a few months back when we had much debate about sin and practicals.
I think you are wise to teach only what you know and have been through, and it's SO true that many have not had a chance to even become solidified in the "little child" stage. I can SO appreciate P.A.W.'s heart to preach the Gospel to the saved. Like Julie often says, she feels like Harriet Tubman, she can 't leave people behind in bondage.
I think we have good reason for avoiding such talk about conduct, and I think it's wise to just stay on identity for AS LONG AS IT TAKES!!! I am hearing Rob saying, "Some people just need to go on a diet of grace for at least five years or something" And do you know what, people need to hear that, they need to give themselves permission to just camp out and rest from doing anything!!
I appreciate this discussion very much. I am about to purchase Paul's second in his trilogy, I loved the first one so much. "The Apprentice", I believe, the 'teenage phase'. It would be fun to go through it with some of you guys. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...


Jamie told me about this discussion and encouraged me to check it out. I totally agree with the things that you and Jamie both have said. I also appreciate Joel's wisdom. He is always like that.
Thoughts on accountability.... Accountability is simply giving another man the right to monitor your performance. Anything that has to do with looking at your performance should send you running and screaming the other way. We are eating out of the wrong tree here. Pre-Fall, Adam had no idea what good and evil were, but nevertheless they were real. Satan convinced Adam that this "knowledge" was something to attain to. God knew that it was someting to fall to. God never intended for us to exist at that miserable level. In the New Covenant you find only one tree. Living from LIFE is so far above the other. I believe that we are on the right track with this grace thing, but we only have glimses of what living from this Christ-Life really looks like. It is beyond our wildest dreams.
Christ is the Head of the body. If we cannot trust him to take care of us, then we are wasting our time. Pastor Scotty used to say, and Lydia, I like hearing you and Jamie say this so often, we must trust the Christ in us as well as in each other. In Ezekiel 34:22-24 it says, "I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be ther shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. Romans 2:1 says, "...For in passing judgment on another you condemn youself..."
Sure, God uses others sometimes to minister to us, but only to minister to us Himself. Anything that takes our focus off of Christ and puts it on ourselves is wrong.
Just some thoughts....


lydia said...

WOW, Ryan, I am so glad you came by, I consider it an honor :)
I love what you shared here. "Accountability is simply giving another man the right to monitor your performance." That is SO true!! I don't know about you, but I hate being monitored. When I found out God wasn't counting my sins against me anymore, and that he dealt with sin once for all time at the cross, I felt very free and relieved and happy. And you know what, that is what freedom should be. We should not want to place ourselves back under a sin microscope once we have gotten free from it by the ONE who it most matters to. Did that make sense? Are we not trusting that He is satisfied and did indeed deal once for all with sin?
Anyway, it is all about LIFE. I love how you brought up the fall and the trees. So many want to continue to live from the wrong tree! Oy!
I want more than glimpses of this LIFE, don't you!!!

You can share your thoughts anytime Ryan!!

Rich said...

lydia joy,

This doesn't tie in with this post of yours on accountability, but it does with regard to your desire to see, have Christ formed within you.

It is a good read from Austin Sparks, http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/002928.html

In reading it I pondered upon the reality (the knowledge) of experiencing His grace for my life, is it simply something I'm basking in, or is His grace meant to accomplish far more than simply being His?

I see His grace illustrated this way, borrowing from an OT picture...the saints of old were "lead out, only to be lead in." Grace has lead us out from the kingdom of darkness into the Father's kingdom-family, but is that all there is to it?

Looking forward to any thoughts you care to share.

lydia said...

Thanks Rich.
Well I muscled my way through the article and here are some excerpts that stuck out to me

“Put on therefore, as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion.” Well, you put off a heart that is not a heart of compassion. “Put on kindness, humility, meekness, long­suffering; forbearing one another, forgiving each other” (verse 12; ASV). All that is contrary to those things belong to the doings of the old man. “You put them off.” The old man is very clearly portrayed here, and the new man also. Well, that is what is supposed to have happened with you and with me. That is something done. That is not a process, I mean the putting off of the old man, and the putting on of the new. That is not a process, that is a position. The process is what belongs to him, any relics at all, anything associated with him, is to be progressively put off the old man and what is belonging to the new man being put on."


"Well, we just conclude at this point with a re-emphasis. We have said early on that we had one object in view, just one, it may be wrapped around with all these other things that we have said, and are saying, but right at the heart there is only one thing, and that one thing is: Christ-likeness, being renewed unto the image of Him. And you notice the word that we have not underlined: unto knowledge, “Renewed unto knowledge, to the image of Him that created him.” It just means this, dear friends, that you and I are throughout our Christian life to be learning what Christ is, and what Christ is like, discovering Christ for life; learning in knowledge, knowledge unto conformity, knowledge unto the renewal of the lost image."

So basically this article has some key truths I have been pondering for some time now. Our position is set, we were baptized into Christ's death and raised with Him in His resurrection. Our old man is gone and we are now clothed with Christ and His righteousness. And now in this life, it's not about what we 'do' so much as it is what we 'believe'. It's our believing and knowledge of the truth that continues to set us free in Christ, and form us into His image. We cannot set out to 'do' before we set out to 'reknew'.
One thing I am not so sure I agree on fully, is at the end of the article how he states that the Holy Spirit puts us through trials. I think we cause ourselves to get into trials, I think by our choices and our worry and not trusting we can end up in the valley. I also think the enemy tries to buffet us through circumstances and sickness. God is not the author of sickness and tragedy. He does cause all things to work together for good. But that doesn't mean he causes the bad things, remember Job. He allows things for our good. I also believe that is His heart to bless us. So I find it confusing to say he wants good for us and blessing for us, but He causes bad things to happen, or accidents or tragedies etc.....And perhaps this is not the author's meaning, but I think it could easily be construed as so. Thus me wanting to clarify where I stand on that.
Anyway, I enjoyed the article and found it very thought provoking. I just finished reading a book by Ryan Rufus, called "Santification by grace" - I very much enjoyed it and am ready for part 2, haha.

Anonymous said...

Um, I don't think I communicated very well what was on my heart with my first post. (Sorry, it was late at night and I ramble even more when I am tired!) I focused on the fellowship aspect, because alot of small groups at church are misconstrued as accountability groups...and I absolutely LOVE my small group at church. I agree with you, I have personal scars from forced accountability within a church setting as well. Although,if I approach someone else and ask them to help me in a certain struggle I am having, that is accountability, is it not? I don't think the word is poisonous, but I think it can be used in extremely harmful ways. I witnessed my husband, under such forced accountability at church, want to commit suicide and was so tormented that at I just PRAYED and interceded for him every minute of the day that he would return home and not just run off or kill himself. He could not measure up to their standards, nothing he did was "right"...of course not!!!!
GOD in His precious timing let us attend a Sonship conference where we were reintroduced to grace and the gospel and FREEDOM like we had not heard before. I thank GOD for that week, it may have only been a week of resting in Him (without children :) )but I am still gleaning from it years later.
I love what I am reading on this blog. I am encouraged particularly by what Joel has shared.
I apologize for not referencing, Lydia, again, I was tired, I believe the passage I was thinking of was Galatians 6:1 (restoring in gentleness).

Heather Joy

Joel B. said...

Yeah, Lydia, I think many in the church are trying to get people to move into a completely wrong type of "fatherhood" that is based on outward behavior, and they misuse these grace-full words of Paul to try to "mature" their flesh. Whereas the Christian life is not based on iota on our outward behavior/performance, I do believe that all of Paul's words are part and parcel of the good news, and his "behavior" talk is about encouraging one another in the outward expression of the inward reality, rather than being about behavior modification. There's a huge difference there that people don't seem to get, because all they know (wrongfully) is that the Christian life is about behavior change.

I do think that Paul's words about "put on" and "put off" have to do with the outward display... by the Spirit/by the very life of Christ in us... of our lives in Christ. Truly, truly, the "old man" is dead and gone, and so when Paul uses that language in the present sense, I believe he's simply saying to "put off" the deeds that we were accustomed to due to the old man and "put on" the outward display of the life of Christ.

He says this is several places, using all types of different language to say it, so I personally don't want to ignore what I believe is a wonderful part of the whole package of life in Christ.

I like what Ryan said, and what you and Jamie always say, about trusting the Christ in others. To add to that, I think the goal is also to help others to trust the Christ in themselves. As we both alluded to earlier, many people are "trying" to perform these outward deeds through the futile power of the flesh, and they don't have much of a clue about the life of Christ in them!

I do see a pattern in Paul's epistles. A wonderful, well-laid-out foundation of pure grace doctrine, followed by and mixed with exhortation and encouragement about what it looks like when lived out. My former mistake, as I said, was to think it was mixing law and grace, but I now see that he was mixing grace with talk of grace-full living. I think he wrote so much about it for good reasons! And I hope that as we mature in Christ we don't ignore those things, but uphold them as part of the whole.

I'm currently reading "Until Christ is Formed," the first in PAW's trilogy, and I'm also looking forward to reading "The Apprentice." I was trying to find a quote from PAW from the UCIF book, but couldn't find it, but it's along the lines of: We truly want to grow and mature from little children to young men to fathers, but whatever stage we're in is to be treasured and cherished, because that's where God has us. It's where PAW talks about the destination being the journey. It's not about "arriving" at the next stage, but it's about enjoying the journey right where we're at. I say that to say that I fully agree with you: It's truly a wonderful thing for those who have been "camped out" on legalism for so long to remain on that steady grace diet for as long as necessary! Years, if necessary! And that's a good, good thing!

Joel B. said...

This reminds me, too, of something that I heard PAW share in November 2006 that confirmed to me a huge part of what 'grace roots' is about. In short, he shared these words from Psalm 92:

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green...

Paul went on to bring up something about palm trees. He said something like, "Did you know that palm trees don't bear fruit during their first ten years?" He went on to basically say that a palm tree spends that time getting its roots established in the soil. If you look at the branches and leaves, the palm tree appears to simply be in a "Godward Gaze" (referring to Steve McVey's book).

That's my heart right now in life. To help people get rooted and established and grounded in grace, fixing their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!

In my own life, I'm seeing some other things, and I know that in recent years both Steve and Paul have begun to write and teach more extensively on the "what this looks like when lived out" stuff. It's all good! Right now, I'm happy and thrilled to grow my own roots deeper and help others do that as well, as so many of us are doing on our blogs!

lydia said...

Hey Heather ~ What I am wondering is this, is accountability, even something found in the New Testament, in any of Paul's teachings? I don't see the need for accountability period. Fellowship, and friendship and counsel with others for wisdom and encouragement, yes, yes, all good things. I don't see that as interchangeable with the idea of accountability as presented in many churches.
So sorry to hear about how you and your husband suffered due to forced accountability. That seems to be very common. Not fun at all, but I am SO grateful to see God brought you both through that season. It must have been very difficult!
Glad you are encouraged and enjoying the blog! Joel is one of the wisest guys I know :) He is a blessing!!
By the way, I was thinking the passage you meant was 'restoring' not reproving, hee hee............glad you clarified.
I hope you will stick around some more, it's nice to have you :)

lydia said...


I am eager to learn, 'what this looks like when lived out' too, and I think that is true, that is much of what Paul writes in his books, what it looks like walked out. But I just don't think we can even go there with those who aren't ready, and rooted and established in grace. I am thinking that the letters he wrote were to those he had already spent significant time establishing in grace.
And as for the palm tree...........great example. It seems to me, that MOST fruit trees take time to get established before they bear any fruit at all, even berries are that way!! I am so glad you brought that up.
I loved "Until Christ is Formed" and I highly recommend it - I would read it again, and probably will, but have lent it out at the mo...........just ordered "The Apprentice" today. Looking forward to it!!
I think it's great to want to see people get established in grace, while we walk out where we are at, at the same time. This indeed is Christ in me, and me for others lived out!! Thanks again Joel, you truly are a wonderful brother and friend!!

Joel B. said...

Yep indeed... Rooted, grounded and established in grace... isn't a quick process by any means! It's really a lifetime process. I had exchanged a couple of emails with PAW before the Rad. Sonship conference in which he shared that he was excited about the various things he and Steve had in store for the conference. I told him that for the past 5 to 10 years, my 'ministry' has been the 'roots' of grace - helping people to become rooted and established in grace. I said, "So many people are barely even walking in the 'little children' phase, and it's so wonderful to keep on sharing the good news that encourages them in grace at that stage of their lives."

I don't think Paul would mind me sharing his reply. Here's part of it:

"I have been talking for the last couple of years on what I call ‘the business end’ of our gospel and of course that is what my most recent book, The Apprentice is all about. What I found is that people who are further along in the message are so hungry for more. We can never tire of the grace roots but we can go on to the deeper things too."

And I've been realizing that that's where I'm at. Continuing to teach the "roots" while in many respects wanting to grow as a child/teenager into a 'father,' so to speak. The way Paul expresses things has really made it easier for me to understand all of this.

Anyway... you are so right. With so many people we don't even want to go there at all. In my own life I found that it hindered my growth, rather than helped it, when people were trying to press me with deeper issues. In fact I found that (as you know) I had to stop going to my church, and I've ended up purposely going back to the "little child" mentality, simply wanting to get myself rooted and established properly!

I've enjoyed this conversation, and as always I've felt safe here simply as a friend expressing myself among friends, and if anyone doesn't care for what I say or has any issues with anything, I'm not attempting to 'prove' anything to anyone :) and I'm always more than willing to talk it out any time.

Nick Cameron said...

Hey Lydia - This is a really tough subject! There are pros and cons I guess. But I was brought up with accountability basically where people kept a close eye on you, pointed out your failings and then 'encouraged' you to do better..... it was covered in legalism!

I am just trying to start out on the journey of being completed liberated in my walk with God learning about grace - but where does something like accountability fit in? Is it actually scriptural? Is there a balance where accountability doesn't automatically fall under legalism?
Just wondering if you have any reflections on that?????
Nick x

lydia said...

Hey Nick,
Sorry I didn't get back to you on this sooner. I do not see 'accountability' in Scripture anywhere. Fellowship within the body, encouraging one another in the Lord is what I see. Anyway, check out my latest post with the video Steve McVey does, I like how he summed it up. Hope this helps........

Much love