Danny heard the sound that half of the world’s iPhone owners hear when they receive a text.
“Hey bro, I’m signing up for Covenant Eyes. It will email all of the websites I visit to my accountability partner. I need to stop watching porn. Can I put your email down to register you as my accountability partner?”
‘Man,’ Danny thought. ‘I’ve been on both ends of this conversation multiple times before and it’s never worked. I wonder – if porn sites show up on the report that gets emailed to me, does he want me to call him? If I call him, what should I say? I want the best for Steve, but how do I actually help him?
Danny said, “Steve, of course you can put my email address down, but if I’m going to be your accountability partner, I’m going to actually be your partner. What do you want this partnership to look like?”
“Well…..you’ll get a report of the websites I visit.”
“Okay, that’s a great start. That’s a great program. Do you also want to talk to me in this process of you getting off porn? Or is me receiving your reports enough to shame you out of stumbling?”
Steve didn’t know what to say.
Like so many, Danny and Steve had been told they need accountability, but had never been taught what an effective accountability relationship actually looks like.
How does this concept of accountability actually breed success?
Galatians 6:1 says that “…if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
This verse shows that the accountability partner needs to be someone who is mature in their faith and is free from pornography. They ‘live by the Spirit.’
Too often, people struggling with porn get another buddy struggling with porn to be their accountability partner. This rarely works because it’s the blind leading the blind.
Spirit-led living also means that we need to lead people not just out of a sin, but into a spirit-led life. Often, the focus is getting people out of sin and we neglect the importance of letting God lead the way. This is highly ineffective and leads to people becoming more discouraged than they were in the first place.
A spirit-led accountability partners takes account for the person’s ability. This is the truest form of accountability. To hold someone to the standard you know God has enabled them to live at propels them into so much more than just getting free from a sin.
Proverbs 12:1 says: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
Almost every Christian man with pornography or sexual sin in their life wants to stop their addiction. The problem is, often they only want to in their head. They know it’s wrong. They don’t like the shame. When push comes to shove though, it’s revealed that it’s not a heart-level desire yet. When we don’t apply the counsel that we get, we stay stuck in the cycle of thinking we can do it with the same thinking that got us stuck in the addiction in the first place. A humble heart that welcomes counsel and correction from those in their lives, including the Lord, is a huge key to having accountability work.
Proverbs 15:22 says: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
We advise that, especially when you’re in the think of a sexual addiction, getting three accountability partners is key.
When you have one, that person may become disinterested, be on a date or a holiday when you need them, or give bad counsel. With two people in your corner, you might get conflicting advice and now know what to do. When you have three people to count on, you are more likely to get wise counsel, have someone available for a call at whatever hour you’re in need, and if one falls out of your life, you’re still left with two people in your life to lean on while you take time to find a third.
If you don’t have people in your life to count on, ask God to bring them to you. It’s in His interest and His design for you to have people like that in your life. As you pray, He’ll bring you the right people and He’ll open your eyes to see them as He leads.
With each of these individuals, set a weekly time to call them and then ask when you can call them throughout the week in times when temptation is coming on strong.
Let them have access to your full life. How you’re doing with God, family, work, school, hobbies, finances, temptation, and self-talk, among other things, has an impact on acting out sexually. The more aligned we are in all areas of life, the less likely we are to act out.
Lastly, we recommend a Full-Life Disclosure.
In Joshua 7 there’s a story where God’s people just aren’t prospering like they should. They should win a war easily, but instead, they lose and get confused. Joshua is crying out wondering what God’s doing and God tells him to stop praying, get up, and address the sin in his camp.
A man named Achan admits that he has sinned and Joshua instructs him to confess everything that he has done. This is the key. Achan tells everything.
He confesses that he was enticed to steal, what he took, how much he took, where it’s located, and let’s others go and dig it up. He is totally exposed.
God looks at this with pleasure. He tells Joshua to go back to war with the army that had just beat them and promises that this time, God is delivering them into Joshua’s hands.
When we confess everything to our accountability partners, we let them guide us, but we also let God bless our maturity. He will now go before us and prosper us, something He’s hesitant to do when we have unconfessed sin in our lives.
Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever consesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
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