We all need people to influence us. God made us that way.
From the languages we speak to the character we develop—it all begins with those who surround us in our formative years.
It starts with our environment, but it shouldn’t end there. It cannot.
When it does, it’s tragic. That was the case with King Joash.
But it doesn’t have to be that way with us.
We don’t like accountability.
Oh, we like the idea of accountability. For governing officials. For pastors and priests. For bankers and doctors.
But personally? Uh, no thanks. We prefer anonymity.
(We prefer anonymity.)
From the pages of Scripture, an unlikely prophet named Amos helps us learn why our refusal to accept personal accountability is more than simply wrong or foolhardy.
Without accountability to God, we will never become all we want to be.
In my previous post, I wrote about a Christian’s struggle with sin and 4 lies we believe about our sin.
Let’s take it a step further.
In addition to taking a defensive mindset against the lies we often believe, we need to take an active approach to sin and temptation.
Here are 4 basic strategies to help you battle the tug of temptation and sin on your heart.
Everybody sins. But when we Christians do it, reactions vary.
The world points to us as hypocrites—and often uses our sins as justification for their own. Other Christians tend to view our sins as reasons to suggest we aren’t even saved.
(Photo by Bigroger27509. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
But the people who offer the most brutal judgment against our sins?
Very often, it’s ourselves.
That’s because Christians struggling with sin tend to believe four lies.
Early one morning I hopped in my car and inserted the key in the ignition. When I cranked it—I kid you not—the car made the sound: “Ugh.”
So I figured it was just the weather, and I pulled out the jumper cables. But two days later, the car sang the second verse of the same song: “Ugghhh.”
(Photo: by Monkey Business Images via Vivozoom )
Later that day, my auto mechanic gave a simple diagnosis: I needed a new battery.
Now, I could have said: “Hey, you know, a car starting every other day isn’t so bad. It sure beats walking. I guess I don’t need a battery.”
Guess again. I bought a battery—a big one. If my vehicle runs inconsistently, it’s of little value to me. At the same time, keeping the car running reliably comes down to one thing: it costs me.
The same is true of our spiritual lives.
The trouble with most of us,” someone once said, “is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
That’s really true. Go ahead, ruin me.
The truth is, we can work ruin by either extreme:
- Give nothing but compliments.
- Offer only criticism.
Words that compliment and words of criticism both strike like arrows, and they seldom miss their mark.
But the huge difference between them can be surprising.
I read somewhere that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once played a joke on twelve of his friends. He sent them each identical telegrams that read:
“Flee! All is discovered!”
Just four words. But within 24 hours, all twelve fled the country.
What Conan Doyle did in jest, God does to us in all seriousness.
The Lord will use situations to awaken ignored or unresolved guilt, testing our willingness to come clean and clear a guilty conscience.
Are you willing? Here’s how.