Who is your hiking buddy?

The importance of accountability. (This one is for the guys)

The average through hiker will start the trail alone. They will not have a hiking partner. There will be those who have a close friend, significant other or even a pet on the trail with them but in the beginning most start on this epic challenge by themselves. However, almost without fail, what generally happens is that friendships are found and formed in the early stages of the hike. The personalities are compatible, the hiking pace is roughly the same, the daily or weekly goals are the same and a partnership of sorts is formed. This will gel sometimes into larger groups of three, four or more that generally hike together over the course of the trails entirety.  They share resources, they look out for each other’s physical and mental wellbeing, they motivate each other, challenge each other and  hold each other accountable to completing the hike.  These relationship start as total strangers but by the end of the hike form into bonds so deep that lifelong off trail friendships are very common if only with a select few persons they hiked with. Friends closer than brothers, thicker than blood. People you can call on and count on like no other.

Do you have a friendship that is so deep the friend is more like a brother than a friend? Are you able to be completely honest with each other on any topic or are there things that are off limits?

For the Christian man the need for accountability is profoundly important. Like these hiking partners, a man needs someone, specifically another man that will look out for your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, motivate you, share resources, share burdens and hold you accountable to finish the walk of faith well and strong.   Scripture could not be clearer on this point: Solomon in his wisdom concluded in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” OR Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

To attempt to walk in Christ without at least one accountability partner is inadvisable at best, fool hardy at worst. God provide us the ultimate accountability partner in the Holy Spirit. This is done by the transformation of your heart.  That “still, small voice” that leads you and makes you uncomfortable with sin. Nothing and no one can take the place of the Holy Spirit in your walk. You have to be willing to listen to and heed its influence on your heart and actions.

Along with the Holy Spirit, a group or collection of men to be accountability partners is profoundly important. Accountability is not reading a devotional together, talking about it for 5 minutes, praying together for another 5 minutes then spending the next half hour talking about sports. Accountability is hard, it can be messy and it will cost you something, but the benefits can make a huge difference in whether you succeed or fail in your Christian walk.  It’s not going to just work out or happen organically. The fact is, you need to seek these men out. This will not happen automatically. The term birds of a feather flock together applies here. You have certain friends because you share certain interests or common goals or motivations. Your best buddy may not be the best accountability partner though. You want someone who will be strong enough to hold your feet to the fire. Call you out on bad behavior or stinking thinking. Someone who is willing to look out for you and push you toward the goal you have set for yourself, to serve Christ and honor God well. If you have a close friend that will do that faithfully and without fear of losing the friendship, then that is a good accountability partner.

You still need others on your team. Look for other men who are different from you. Certainly, sound spiritually but also men who exemplify the traits you want to develop.  Strong prayer warriors, men with deep quiet time or devotional relationships, men who serve easily and willingly, men who rightly divide the Word of God meaning they know how to study God’s Word soundly. They know how they got there and they can help you do the same.

You have to be willing to be that same way for another. You have to have some skin in the game. Otherwise it’s all take and no give and that makes for a poor example of a real man. You also have to be willing to stay with the relationship long term. Make a commitment.

Accountability is a big word and subsequently a big responsibility. I’ve seen it done poorly many times but I’ve also seen it change lives, save marriages and preserve families. Men willing to take the hard road, stand in the gap, dig in with another man to beat back sin and complacency have and can make the difference. It takes a real man to see the need and other real men to fill the need. Time to man up fellas.

I will make a commitment to find at least one person to hold me accountable for my walk with Christ    Yes   /   No

 List the names of three people (men) that I will ask to be accountability partners with me:

________________________________________

________________________________________

________________________________________

 I will make a commitment to be an accountability partner for another man.   Yes   /   No

No man truly hikes alone. We all stand on the shoulders of giants who have walked the path before us. Individual success is always a group effort.

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