Chosen Accountability for Besetting Sin
Being accountable helps us to encourage one another to be steadfast in living out our faith. Steadfast living is becoming “fit” in terms of our walk with Christ. Sin has a way of provoking us into wrong thoughts and actions. Being accountable with prayer and fasting can help us win the battle in the heart and mind.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
Transformation of a person’s heart comes first with a conviction that something needs to change about his or her behavior, habits, or sinful acts. Then that person has to learn to believe that transformation comes with a Biblical pattern! Looking back twelve years ago, I understood conviction, but didn’t fully believe (or always follow) a Biblical pattern of accountability, prayer, and fasting to overcome a besetting sin.
I found myself convicted for decades that I needed to defeat a sinful pattern of obese living and lose about 200 pounds for a healthy weight. I needed a way to stop the yo-yo cycle of sin that kept me in physical pain and emotional bondage. I finally sought help from a pastor friend in 2006 who encouraged me to a 40-day partial fast. For encouragement, he was was willing to join me in this fast. My wife and friend prayed and fasted with me over those first 40 days, and I lost 37 pounds towards my liberty!
“You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cries…”
Psalm 10:17 NIV
During that 40 days, the Lord brought forth unexpected miracles of reconciliation needed with an estranged sister and strength to do a funeral service for my brother’s wife who died of a heart attack at age 49. I felt the Lord’s presence, and I had hope for a better future. I found it easy to maintain that weight-loss as Jesus was training my heart with self-control.
Four years later after being away from accountability, I sought the Lord to help me get off the rest of the weight. I cried out to Jesus in prayer and shared with another pastor friend and a Christian co-worker my desire to lose more weight. My co-worker walked in one day, and handed me a partial fast diet program. I made a phone call, got an appointment, and began that diet with encouragement from friends and my wife to lose another 60 pounds in 2011.
Unfortunately, I somewhat rested again for seven years in my new comfort zone! Finally by late February 2018, after a talk with Pastor Ken Adams on a return trip to India, I confessed my desire to lose more weight and he offered great advice: “Learn to mange portion sizes.” He had seen me eating three buffet meals each day! This was a witness that my heart and eyes and mind still needed some transformation! I was drifting away!
“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Hebrews 3:12-13 NIV
By May 2018, God sent a new friend that was undertaking health coaching as a new vocation involving healthy choices in small portion sizes! At this writing, I am still being transformed with accountability and have managed to lose another 38 pounds: 135 pounds in total. What is different about this journey is that I know my heart and mind still need transformation and encouragement. I understand that transformation requires intentional confession of my sins which beset me and asking for help from Jesus and friends who will encourage with grace and passion to finish well.
The Holy Spirit has been forming in me the Christ-like character quality of being intentional by managing my life by the Father’s power and presence. I realize God did not make us to be “Lone Rangers” in losing weight, or defeating other sinful patterns. He wants us to cast away every encumbrance and sin that entangles us and run with perseverance. His pattern is through Jesus by the Holy Spirit working in fellowship with other believers.
Find yourselves a Spirit-filled disciple making friend who loves Christ, who will encourage you to be fit and run with perseverance, and who will pray for and with you as you speak truth into one another’s lives! Please feel free to contact me here for prayer, encouragement, or questions you may have about starting your own journey to healthier living.