It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Which is better? To be accountable to others or to place guard rails in your life?
When I say accountability, I am not speaking of the modern movement in some Protestant circles to mimic secret occult orders and the Catholic religion who both extract confessions of secret sins from their members, … confessions which could later be used for blackmail in order to control them. Such a practice began in Babylon with priests dressed in leopard skins who ensured that their “Mystery Religion” remained a dark mystery.
Instead, I am talking of the Biblical accountability of sheep to their congregation, pastor, and Christian spouse by having them answer for their actions if they stray too far away in cases like adultery, theft, or other vices. Accountability is in a sense “answer-ability” and is something that is typically done after an issue has occurred. To me, this is not the best way to ensure you are on the right path.
Instead, I find placing guard rails in my life to be far superior to accountability. Some would argue that accountability and guarding one’s life are one and the same, but I would suggest that they are not. While guarding one’s path can include what I call “preventive accountability”, guarding one’s path has far more subsets. In other words, it may overlap with one form of accountability (preventive), but that is all.
An example of preventive accountability is when a person lets their spouse know that they have difficulty going to a certain restaurant, because of an old addiction to alcohol or because of an old boyfriend or girlfriend being there. This ensures that the spouse is aware and can help in a preventive manner.
Guarding one’s heart is Biblical.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
One of the best ways to do this is by examining the media, music, books, friends, and other influences you allow into your mind via your ears and eyes. It’s not just avoiding the wrong things but also feeding your mind on the right things like GOD’s Word and keeping the focus of your day on the LORD.
Guarding one’s path is also Biblical.
Romans 13:14: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
One of the best ways to do this is by examining the processes in your life. For example:
- Do you have internet content filters on your computers?
- Do you allow opportunities for addictions to be triggered?
- Do you go to lunch with an attractive co-worker?
- Do you have daily habits that encourage you to walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh?
And the list is endless. Just like a roller coaster has guard rails on the sides to ensure you don’t fly off the tracks, life is an even more important journey.
Guard your heart through examining what feeds your mind.
Guard your path through examining what processes can make you stray from GOD or thrive for GOD. It is not sufficient alone to avoid poor processes but we must also build good habits in our lives that build our soul, our mind, our godly social needs, and our physical body through proper sleep, exercise, and diet.
Accountability then becomes merely a secondary layer of protection.