Theme of the Week: Essential Spirituality
Bible Verse: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-11
Accountability is perhaps the component of Christian spirituality most lacking among contemporary Protestants. The Reformation affirmed the right of the individual to hear the voice of God, to worship God through Christ without the mediation of a priest, and to understand the Scriptures in his own language. But this individualism, while affirming valid biblical truths, had the regrettable tendency of undercutting other equally valid truths – specifically the principle of spiritual authority and accountability. Christians somehow came up with the idea that they are autonomous, and stand alone before God with no direct accountability to the church or to the authority of church leaders. But the weight of Scriptural evidence strongly upholds the principle of authority and accountability. A lack of this component represents a dangerous state of affairs.
Spiritual obedience is one of the marks of the church. In Scripture, we are called to confess our sins to one another, and to live in mutual submission, humbling ourselves before each other within the Christian community.
We need to recognize the need for accountability and express this concretely if our spiritual lives are to have stability and continual growth. We are not spiritual nomads; authentic Christianity cannot be lived in spiritual isolation as a hermit.
We need to acknowledge the dangers of spiritual isolation; but we also need to activate potential structures for living in submission to others. The authority of Christ’s lordship over our lives can and will be expressed through a variety of ministries.
First, it is essential that we live in submission to the preached Word and the administered Sacrament. The Christian cannot know spiritual vitality unless he knows the power of spiritual preaching, and the nourishment of the spiritual food of the Lord’s Table. Yet these only have meaning if the believer lives in submission to the one that God has placed in the ministry as preacher and pastor.
Second, authentic Christian life includes full congregational life. We are part of a Christian community, and community is impossible without submission. No one stands alone, not even the pastor/preacher. All are called to live in community.
Third, we also need a pattern of accountability that is more intentional and defined. There are two options here. One model is the small group; the other is the spiritual director or friend.
All these various forms of finding and living in accountability are just suggestions, not the only means by which we can live in community. But, whether we choose to follow these suggestions or not, we do need to deliberately design for ourselves structures of spiritual authority and accountability, that will provide us with counsel, encouragement and direction.
Copyright © 2022 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.