Today’s Truth

In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:5 NIV).

Friend to Friend

A certain expert guide lived in the deserts of Arabia. He was known for his tracking skills and never lost his way. The secret of his success could be found in the fact that he carried with him a homing pigeon with a very fine cord attached to one of its legs. When he had doubts as to which path to take, he threw the bird into the air. The pigeon quickly strained at the cord to fly in the direction of home, leading the guide accurately to his goal. Because of this unique practice, he was known as “the dove man.”

We always need connections to those who will point us in the right direction. We will take the wrong path or make a wrong turn and there will be times when we have no idea which way to go or how to get home. We must then turn to God and to those who hold us accountable.

Accountability is often seen as confining, a relationship straight jacket that limits freedom of expression and hinders those who march to the beat of a different drummer. Actually, the opposite is true. Accountability frees us to grow and change and is an important part of every relationship.

When I married into the Southerland family, I didn’t know that tent camping was part of the deal. I might have reconsidered. My first trip to Lake Greason in the foothills of the Ozarks was quite an experience. Each morning, Dan’s mom would prepare a huge breakfast. The kids then did dishes while mom changed into her swimsuit, donned her sunglasses, grabbed a towel, and headed for the lake. On the shore, she snatched an inner tube, positioned her towel in just the right spot over the tube, turned around and sat down. She would then float blissfully for hours.

Problem. Lake Greason had a current that carried mom down the lake, around the bend and into the path of ski boats. Someone would have to swim after her and pull her back to the safety of the shore, where she would profusely thank them and go right back to floating.

Finally, one of the kids came up with a great idea. We grabbed a ski rope, tied one end to mom’s inner tube and the other end to a wooden stake driven securely into the ground. She could then float until the rope ran out and someone “reeled her in.”

What a perfect picture of accountability – giving someone who loves you the permission to “reel you in” when they see you headed in a dangerous direction. When we willingly make ourselves accountable to others, we are creating a hedge of protection that creates boundaries or behavioral lines that should not be crossed.

Honestly, most of us have experienced very little accountability in life because at the heart of being accountable to someone is the willingness to be submissive to them. We have abused the concept of submission. It was never intended to be demeaning.

Submission is protection and an intentional willingness to consider first the desires and wishes of another before our own. God places others in our lives to see things we cannot see, to encourage and build up, to correct, love and protect. Still, we tend to view accountability as a crutch and submission as a weakness. Submission is harnessed strength, a controlled strength that is born out of obedience to God’s command. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21 NIV).

Jesus submitted Himself to the will of His father. He willingly laid down His desires and dreams, His plans and hopes in total submission. Out of that total surrender came the most powerful life ever lived. When we willingly submit ourselves to God and choose to make ourselves accountable to others, we will experience a new freedom and power.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today, submitting myself to You. Thank You for the protection, direction and power that comes from that submission. Forgive me when I have stood silent while someone I loved made dangerous decisions. Thank You for Your love that never condemns but always stands ready to keep me from making mistakes.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Who is your accountability partner? If you do not have one, I encourage you to ask God to send you a friend who loves you enough to protect you by holding you accountable.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help? Get Mary’s downloadable MP3, I Need a Friend for ways to find someone who will lovingly hold you accountable.

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© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

3 Responses to “Tending the Hedge of Accountability”

  1. Monica says:

    Thank you Mary. This devotion is much needed in the times we are living in. In a world that seems to be spinning so out of control, more of us Christians need to pause, pray and meditate, ‘What would God have me do (or not do) and say (or not say)? I appreciate that the Lord laid this message upon your heart as it is something I needed reminding of, and I am sure others as well.

  2. Monica, you are so right! The times we live in make the need of accountability so urgent. It’s easy to get stuck in a downward spiral. We need someone who will tell us the truth – not just what we want to hear. Thank you for your encouraging words! Blessings!

  3. Carol says:

    Thanks Mary for this writing.
    I’ve been meditating on the words of Eph. 5:21, and your thoughts of Jesus, laying down His dreams and aspirations as a human, young man. It was the act of submission. Jesus was on mission, for the Father.
    Thank God, for the simplicity of John 3:16, “for God so loved the world….He gave His ONLY Son…”
    (Monica, your comment also, resonated with me. Blessings, to you too.)

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