This is a guest series by Phil Cate. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them all by clicking on ‘Phil Cate’ under the Categories heading in the right panel. Watch for new installments every Friday.
All material is copyrighted and cannot be used without permission of the author.
Accountability and Fellowship
Proverbs 13:20 (NIV)
20 He who walks with the wise grows wise,
but a companion of fools suffers harm.
As I mentioned earlier, I had to distance myself from some folks and some folks distanced themselves from me. That was all part of God’s plan for me. He knew I couldn’t grow as long as I had the same playmates or stayed on the same playgrounds.
He shook all of that up big time, and it paved the way to meet some new guys and drew me nearer to some guys I knew already. Collectively, these guys are my seatbelt and my airbag and my navigators.
I’ve proved it the hard way; I absolutely cannot survive without a group of people around me that will refuse to co-sign the BS that goes on in my head and comes out of my mouth. That means I need guys that will get in my cage at times, yet be open to listening to my struggles and always encourage me to do what is right. I have guys that help me stay sober, I have guys that help me manage my emotions, I have guys that help me resist temptations to gray the lines on business concerns. I have guys that hold me accountable on how I’m interacting with my wife. And every single one of them points me back to the Savior and His principles as the solution to every one of my problems.
I just couldn’t get by without these men. They will pray with me, cry with me, let me rant and rave, listen to me, and go get lunch or coffee with me on short notice at any hour. They send me spiritual emails constantly. They seldom tell me what I want to hear; they tell me what I need to hear.
In today’s world, we’re in a fight for our very lives on a daily basis. Addictions are off the charts, divorce is treated like just a bad week, suicide is rampant, kids are going sideways, information is being shoved at us from all different directions and perspectives, and most of us are a step or two away from financial ruin due to our incredible desire to measure up with whomever. For me, I simply cannot keep proper perspective without a large circle of friends that are all walking towards the same goal I am — a growing relationship with Christ.
I also mentioned fellowship. I had a very inaccurate picture of Christians in general, and certainly about Christian fellowship. I really thought Christians were boring, and therefore Christian fellowship would be a snooze as well. I was incredibly wrong on both counts.
I’m sure there are some boring Christians; I’m sure there are boring people in every religion. I just don’t hang out with any of them. I can assure you not one of my buddies is boring at all. As a matter of fact, if they were boring do you think they’d have anything to do with me? I have a men’s group on Monday nights with a handful of the most colorful personalities I’ve ever known. We laugh through half of the meeting every time, yet we are holding each other accountable at the same time. We laugh at ourselves, yet we demand honesty; and there isn’t any subject we won’t talk about. We just go towards the proper solution, our Savior’s lessons for us.
I implore all of you reading this to get into Christian accountability circles and just dump everything about you on them without any regard for what they will think. If you’re in an addiction or affair or about to lose your house, just tell them.
If you don’t have friends like this, go to the church and look for them. If you can’t find them at your church, go to another church. If you’re in an addiction, there are many programs out there for help and fellowship. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, go to a divorce recovery group. If you’re in a grief situation, go find a grief support group.
Just go find them, and go find them today. If you can’t find them, plant them yourself and dig them out of the dirt. Go on eBay or craigslist and bid on a Christian friend or place an ad. Do whatever you have to do to find the friends that will help you maneuver through this very difficult minefield called life.
It’s Q and A time again.
Do you have people in your life to help you find what God would have you do in tough situations? Do they hold you accountable? Do they cheerlead for you?
Are the people in your life trying to live out a value system that God would want for you? Would they tell you flippantly “Just divorce her”, or would they beg you to save your marriage? Would they tell you to forgive someone or would they encourage you to hold a grudge? Would they lead you towards wholesome situations or dangerous and harmful ones?
Are you willing to pray for God to put the right people in your life and to remove the people that are leading you away from His will for you?
Or maybe your situation is that you just aren’t connected with people at all. Are you willing to decide right now that you’re going to do whatever you have to do to build a community of friends, both for fellowship and for accountability?
Always pray for God to send you the people you need, and then get busy looking. The people God sends may just save your marriage, as they did mine; they may save your job, your financial future, your relationship with your kids, or your very life, as my friends did. They can help you get out of an addiction or help keep you out of one.
Trust them, if they are trusting our Father; He will work through them to help you. My guys save my butt continually as long as I pick up the phone and pour out the truth.
Phil Cate is a resident of the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area and runs a small medical equipment resale business. He is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at PhilC@ER3.biz or by phone at 678-429-0901
Printed by permission from Phil Cate, Mama told me Jesus saved my soul, but who was gonna save my butt??? Confessions, lessons, and revelations of a born rebel, © 2008.