Most would agree that the apostle Paul contributed more to what we know and understand about the Christian faith than any man who ever lived, other than Christ himself, of course. Paul was both an example of how we should live out our faith and he left us a body of writings, inspired by God, to both inform and motivate us to become disciplined followers of Christ. But what did Paul have to say about himself during the zenith of his ministry? “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I can not carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do…this I keep doing (Romans 7:18, 19).” It appears that we are all in the same boat, desperately trying to bail it out before it slips into the deep below us.
Clearly, all us who are trying our best to live as Christ expects and His Father demands…let’s just say our best is not good enough. That is the whole point, it’s impossible for us to do so. That why we needed a Savior, if we hoped to become part of God’s family. However, once saved, we are not to become satisfied and comfortable in our new position as a family member. We have two basic assignments laid out for us by Christ himself. The first is to love God by following His commands, but not because we have to, but because we want to; as a demonstration of our gratitude for His sending His Son to die for us. The second assignment is to serve others by sharing the “good news” with all who will listen and becoming a servant to others.
This second assignment is what can really help all of us from once again becoming captive to the sin that “so easily entangles.” It’s logical that the more time we devote to a personal ministry to others, the less time we have to focus on ourselves and our own desires. But it’s more than that, serving others by sharing Christ, by both telling and doing, creates accountability. Its one thing to say that we are accountable to God, but the reality is that we abuse the freedom that God has afforded us. We say with our lips, yes, but when it comes to following through, we say in silence, “Who will know?” We show that we are accountable to God by being accountable to those we are called to serve.
So who are we are accountable to? The easy answer is our family but it goes beyond the doorways of our homes. There is a world dieing to hear from us beyond that doorway and they need of our help…they need God’s help. When we devote ourselves to sharing the love and compassion of Christ; we become accountable to those we share it with. Our objective however is not for them to become dependent on us, rather for them to become dependent on God, in Christ. We need to lead them first to our Savior for forgiveness and then help them learn to become dependent on the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. If we dedicate our lives toward this end, remaining in the presence of God will become a way of life for us and our sin life, a more distant memory. Our mind will become occupied by our mission and not own sinful desires. Let me give you a good example.
We have one special care-giver, Rita, who comes into our home twice weekly to take care of my mother-in-law, Ruth, who is in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis. Now Ruth is a devout believer in Christ and over the past twenty-one years has taught me a great deal about being thankful in all circumstances. Yet when Rita comes to take care of Ruth, she does so much more than just take care of Ruth’s physical needs; she ministers to Ruth by sharing the love of Christ. Rita listens to all Ruth’s ramblings, watches an endless stream of ball games on television, and cheerfully attends to all Ruth’s, do this and do that’s. Then there are hours when Rita just sits silently with Ruth, reading God’s word and praying. Now I’m sure there are days when Rita wishes that she could be home or anywhere else other than in the upstairs bedroom with Ruth. But, whenever we need Rita to drop what she’s doing and fill in for someone else who has failed to show up for their shift, Rita is there, day or night, on a moments notice. It’s obvious that Rita understands what it means to be accountable to Christ.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, god lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1John 4:12