The emphasis of this series entitled A.R.M.Y centers upon the theme of "Do Something."
Comparing a football practice to the life of a church, Pastor Miles pointed out the difference between those who do something and those who don't. Part of an exercise in football practice is one player running through pairs of two players. However, it is not just getting through and past those two players, its running into them, to pass them, because they will try and stop him. Some players charge on through, ignoring the intimidating feat ahead, while others are really just there to wear the uniform, not to play rough.
Often times Christians get in the rut of just going to church, but not doing anything. The purpose of this series entitled A.R.M.Y is to enlist Christians, those who attend the Rock to do something, to get involved. The acronym for A.R.M.Y stands for:
1) Accountability relationships
2) Reaching the lost through an evangelistic lifestyle
4) Your money
This week we focus upon accountability relationships. Having an accountability relationship with another Christian of the same sex as ourselves can radically transform our spiritual lives.
What does an accountability partner look like? How ought the accountability relationship be? A glimpse is given in the book of Daniel found in the Old Testament. There is a great testimony of accountability in the relationship between three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who all are humble servants of the most High God.
In the story of these three friends they remain faithful to God by not bowing down to the an idol as requested by King Nebuchadnezzar. Their faithfulness to God is extreme because not bowing down to the idol meant death!
Daniel 3:1, 4-6 states, King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And the herald proclaimed aloud, "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace."
In a situation such as that, how would we, as Christians, respond today? To establish accountability relationships in our lives means giving another person permission to call us out in a loving and encouraging way when we are acting in disobedience to the Lord and vice versa.
Not only what we do, but what we say ought to honor God. Foul language, dirty jokes, really shouldn't come from out mouths. How we speak to others ought to honor God as well.
When facing Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego speak with grace and honesty honoring God. Daniel 3:16-18 says, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
You Can't Be Both
Sometimes we try to bow down to our idols and be faithful to God, however, this is impossible. What idol are you bowing down to that you need to rid your life of? If we harbor idols in our lives, whether it be money, the Internet, ourselves, whatever it may be, we need to stop bowing down to our idols.
We must ensure that our God honoring unselfishness guides our actions. Daniel 3:15 states, Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not thinking of themselves in those moments in which they were asked to bow down to the idol set before them. They were literally putting their lives on the line, and God blessed their faithfulness.
Daniel 3:22-27 states, Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, "Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?" They answered and said to the king, "True, O king." He answered and said, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods." Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!" Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire."
Transforming through Accountability
God calls us to walk out of our comfortableness to serve Him. When you walk with God faithfully He will take you places you never imagined.
The first step we can take in choosing to walk faithfully with God in obedience is to seek out an accountability partner, who will truly hold us accountable in ways no one else can. Accountability includes checking in with one another helping each other to be humbly obedient to the voice of God each week, to describe to one another what God is teaching one another, to share any inappropriate secrets in one's life that they'd like to discuss, and so on.
Accountability relationships can truly transform our spiritual walk if we are real and open, realizing the benefit and responsibility of such a relationship to our Christian life.