Have you ever considered an accountability partner? Each month I meet on the phone with another pastor for one hour, which I have done for the past nine years. I send him a detailed report prior to our meeting each month which summarizes all that I am doing in my life and ministry. It is a holistic approach. Am I making progress on my goals? Am I spending time with the Lord in devotions and prayer? How is my family doing? In what areas do I need prayer? Where am I struggling this month? My accountability partner has free reign to ask about any part of my life. He holds me accountable which has made me a better person.
Paul holds the Government Officials Accountable
Paul and Silas had been beaten and placed in prison without trial which was illegal to do to a Roman citizen. As a Roman citizen, Paul explained that his rights had been violated. Acts 16:35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” 36 So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.” 37 But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”
38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city.
The city officials were alarmed because there was case law that set precedent for severe consequences for imprisoning a citizen unjustly. At the very least, they could lose their jobs, at the worst they could be exiled or executed for their actions. This was serious business. No wonder they wanted Paul and Silas to leave immediately. They didn’t want this getting out.
Paul does use the situation to his advantage. He demanded an apology and got it. Even when they asked him to leave, Paul takes his time. He goes to Lydia’s house and says his good-byes. He is very sure they won’t come after him again.
We don’t know if Paul’s actions were helpful to other Christians after him. But we can be sure the next time there was a mob, the officials would check the citizen status of possible prisoners.
Our enemy, the devil, wants to ruin the lives of believers. He attacks in our weakest spot when we’re most vulnerable. He then seeks to hold us captive to sin or the guilt that accompanies it. In contrast, God wants us to have an abundant life here on earth. He also wants us to be ready to stand before Him and give an account of our lives. One of the best ways to stimulate spiritual growth is to have an accountability partner or group.
If you don’t have an accountability partner, consider getting one. Do you have anyone who knows your innermost struggles that also has your best interests in mind? Is there someone who would be willing to pray and encourage you? Could you in turn pray for and encourage them? Try to develop this kind of relationship and meet regularly. It may head off spiritual stagnation for both of you.
1 Thess. 5:11So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. . To hear more of the story of Paul, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/hope-in-prison