“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” Proverbs 11:14.
I think most of us would be willing to admit that we struggle. However, I would guess that most Christians hide our deepest struggles and put on a smile, pretending day in and day out that everything is great. This is a dangerous way to live. I will be the first to admit that it is hard to make myself vulnerable to other people. It will never feel natural to reveal the darkest places of our hearts... but it is important to do so.
I am not suggesting that we publicly air all of our dirty laundry. I am, however, encouraging transparency with at least one trusted Christian friend. We must choose this person, or small group of people, wisely. It should be someone who has a committed, growing relationship with the Lord. This person should be wise, trustworthy, prayerful, discreet, and someone you feel comfortable opening up to. It should be someone who is willing to do the same with you. Accountability is a give-and-take relationship; and it is a vital component of maturity in Christ.
Most of us carry a lot of shame over struggles that we keep hidden. Shame is Satan’s playground. If he can keep us in bondage to shame, he can steal our joy in Christ. Jesus came not only to give us forgiveness from sin, but also to free us from our guilt and shame over sin. Opening up about our struggles most likely will reveal that we are not alone—that there are others that we know struggling in similar ways. But instead, many choose to suffer in silence.
Depression, dishonesty, lust, greed, laziness, anger, bitterness... whatever your struggle, you must confront it head on. The first way to do that is to confess your sin to the Father, and then to find a trustworthy friend to make yourself accountable to. Proverbs 27:17 says that biblical Christian community sharpens us in the same way that iron sharpens iron. There is no need to live hiding behind a mask. Jesus never meant for us to follow Him alone. We need one another. Even Jesus Himself drew closer to three of His disciples. If the Son of God craved deep, meaningful friendships, why should we attempt this life on our own? To do so is both foolish and dangerous.
Do you have a friend you can be completely honest with? If not, begin to pray that God would lead you to both find and become that friend.
Father, I am so grateful that You know me completely and still love me unconditionally. Please show me who to reach out to for deep, meaningful accountability. Help me to be that kind of friend to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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