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We've all heard it before. Even more so, most of us probably have been involved with one before - “accountability groups”. Yup, I said it. That's what I'm talking about today. Accountability groups, or accountability partners are nothing new. They serve a great purpose, and hey, sometimes they even work! I am not here to bash them, I've been involved in a

few myself over the years. But one thing that I noticed is that they fix the problem temporarily. What's your experience with an accountability group or partner? Did it work for you? Did you fall back into the same pattern? Let me paint the generic accountability scenario: your spiritual leaders challenge you, invite you to take the commitment to find someone to keep you accountable. You then find someone to keep you accountable, and perhaps likewise you keep them accountable. This process goes on for a few weeks or months, and then it fizzles out. This process might have been a great success, chain is broken, you're stepping all over that sin like it's nothing... or it might have worked for that short time period and now you're struggling again.

I WILL ADMIT IT. I'll be the first to admit it. 99% of the time I am in the scenario where I am super pumped to take my sin seriously and get accountable for it, and it ends up working for that time period, but then after that the fire fizzles out, the accountability grows stale, and I am struggling for dear life to keep myself walking straight. To those who aren't like me, and who succeeded, good work! You probably don't need to read the rest of this article, you are excused. But for the rest of us who can relate, let's keep going. Incase you are wondering what kind of accountability you think I've gone through, I'll tell you what I am talking about. I am talking about the type of accountability that lies outside of friendship. I am talking about acquaintances, friends that you only see at church, the type of people where you don't really talk to them unless you see them. If that's your current scenario, or your only possible way to have accountability, that is not something to worry about – keep going strong with it! But I want to talk to you today about a different kind of accountability support. One that goes deep, knows all, sees all. One that is intimate and authentic. IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TOO PERSONAL. Intimate and authentic? Sounds kind of too personal. Well it is. I am talking about your group of closest friends. Your best friends. The ones you live life with. The ones you do ministry with. You see there is a difference when it comes to just having someone keep you accountable, versus having a close intimate friendship with one or a group of close friends who share the burdens of your heart. There is something different about when a group of God fearing friends get together to seek the Lord. There is a level of transparency like no other, and a form of care that can only come with that type of interaction. For those that know what I am talking about, It is just something that you cannot imagine not having. It does not make the narrow path seem any wider, but it definitely serves as a great edification and encouragement to push through whatever life may bring us. WHY DO WE NEED THIS? We need it because we are broken. Superficial help, will only return superficial results. We need to really dig deep in to our little BIG problem – it's called sin. The only way we can even begin to dig deep is by starting to take our sin seriously. Above all, Saturate your life with prayer and ask God to change your heart and empower you to over come each temptation. But the next beautiful step is to unite with the Church. I am not talking about where you go on Sunday, I am talking about the body of Christ, your friends, Christians – that is the church. Perhaps you don't already have that tight group of friends for accountability – no worries, friendship bonds are not made in a single day, but go ahead and start to seek them! But if you're already in that type of circle, what are you waiting for? Dig deep. "IT BREEDS AUTHENTIC DISCIPLESHIP" The beauty about all this intimate friendship accountability, is that it breeds authentic discipleship. A group of serious people who intentionally meet to seek the Lord in discussion & prayer about their sin, will not stay stagnant. They will grow. Their desires will change, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through behaviour modification, they will become an approved worker of the faith, those special utensils God can use for honorable use. Let me say it again – A group of serious people who intentionally meet to seek the Lord and confront their sin will not leave the same way they come in. In conclusion, whether you have the tight friendship accountability, or even just a fresh new face accountability, you are able to achieve the level of intimacy and depth that would propel you effectively in your walk with Christ. Any group who meets in genuineness while seeking the Lord, will gain much progress in their faith. It's time we get down and dirty with our sin and take it head on. Let's step it up a notch, and together with our friends, truly live for the Glory of God.

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