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Band of Brothers

Just write. Something. Anything. Instruction manuals or movie reviews, how-to books or letters to my grandmother. Find something to say, and write it down. Two months ago, I quit my job working at a machine shop to follow my passion, which, as you might have guessed, is writing. The problem, I found, was that I wasn’t exactly passionate about my passion. Or maybe I was scared of failing or worried about criticism or all of the above. Whatever I was, I wasn’t writing. Then I got a phone call. An old college buddy wanted to get together and catch up. More than that, he wanted to know how things were between God and me. “All right,” I said. He told me he wanted to start meeting with a few guys who wanted things to be more than all right with God. “All right,” I said.

We haven’t been meeting for long, just a few weeks. My prayer life hasn’t magically become perfect, and I still don’t go running to my Bible at the first sign of spiritual turmoil. What has happened, though, is that I suddenly have a few guys who care about me in my life, and they are determined to help me grow. They know my areas of weakness, and they know my strengths. They know the kind of life I want to live, and they know what I need to be doing to make that life a reality. They are a gift from God. I call one of them every morning to make sure both he and I are up and out of bed, which, when you don‘t have a boss waiting on you, is a bigger deal than you might think. We have work to do between meetings: purpose statements to write, books and Scripture to read, people to pray for. We call each other just to see how things are going, something that still catches me off guard. I don’t mention these things to boast—just the opposite. The wonder of accountability is, in fact, exactly how little is required of you. All it really takes is an honest desire to grow in your relationship with God, in your relationships with friends and family and as a person—that and a friend or two who feels the same way.

God gives us community for a reason. He wants us to help each other, to lift each other up. He wants us to use our relationships to draw closer to Him. Look at the early communities of Christians mentioned in Acts 4, giving away everything they owned to support each other. Read Romans 15:1: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” Or Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.“ We are our brother’s keeper, and our brother is our keeper.

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I can hardly say that I always live up to my obligations and commitments, but accountability is about much more than helping each other do this or stay away from that. Accountability is not a guilt trip when you fail, nor is it an excuse for self-righteousness when you succeed. It’s a way to see God work through your friends as He draws you closer into Himself. It’s a way to willingly grant God authority in your life, and it’s a sign of trust in His plan. Among the things I’ve asked my friends to keep me accountable for, I’ve asked them to make sure I write, every day if possible. And here I am, writing about the reason that I’m writing: that utterly practical and beautifully simplistic thing called accountability.

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