It should be no secret that having accountability can make a huge difference with your health and fitness. In fact, there are studies that prove it:
• Healthy partners influence their partner to be healthier.
• Those who share progress on social media lose more weight, whether it is with selfies or on Twitter.
• Accountability partners, whether in person or online, increase your chances of success.
Accountability can be a game changer.
You may have never thought of it this way, but accountability is actually a Biblical concept. From the beginning, God wanted humans to have other humans in their lives. Loneliness was “not good.”
Look at the heroes of the Bible and you’ll find example after example of strong companions. Moses and Aaron. Ruth and Naomi. David and Jonathan. Paul and Timothy and Silas. Mary and Martha.
Proverbs 27:17 explains the value of accountability quite clearly when it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Indeed, accountability and friendship are part of God’s design. Perhaps nowhere are the benefits of strong friendship more evident than when Jesus heals the paralyzed man.
If you’re unfamiliar, here’s the story.
A year or so into His ministry, Jesus had already performed a number of miracles, including turning water into wine, catching literally boatloads of fish, and the healing of the Centurion’s servant. His fame had quickly spread and as such, wherever He went, He attracted the masses.
On a repeat trip to Capernaum, word got out that Jesus had returned. The residents flocked to to the home where He was staying just to see Him, hear Him, and perhaps be healed by Him. The crowd was so thick, there wasn’t even room outside.
Then, in Mark 2:3-4, we read, “…four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.”
Jesus goes on to not only forgive the paralyzed man’s sins, but also heal him physically.
If we aren’t careful, we will focus only on the interaction Jesus had with the religious scholars. In so doing, we gloss right over what an extraordinary act of kindness and love these friends demonstrated.
First of all, these friends had no way of knowing if Jesus would even get to see the paralyzed man, let alone heal him. But it was worth it to try.
Then, they had no way to get the paralyzed man to Jesus other than to carry him on a mat. They did it because their friend was valuable to them.
When they arrived, the friends had no way of penetrating the crowds. So they improvised, carried their friend to the roof, and dug a hole in the roof big enough to lower him down. They found a way!
Why? Because their friendship was deep enough and their faith was big enough.
Do you have rooftop type friends? Friends that will do whatever it takes to love you, help you, and carry you through hard times?
If so, maybe it’s time to reach out to ask for accountability with your fitness. Pray about it.
Pray about one or two people you could ask to love on you in this way.
Pray for guidance on which friends you trust to sharpen you in love.
Pray for wisdom on what method would work best… text, face-to-face, phone call, online group?
And as James 1 tells us, remember to expect to receive an answer.
If you don’t have friends like the paralyzed man had, start praying for some. Pray for wisdom on putting yourself in a position to find or develop rooftop friends. Pray for courage to reach out for help. And pray that God would honor your efforts to be vulnerable in this way. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and humility.
Friendship is designed to encourage and edify. Put it to the test and see just how Biblical and effective accountability can be.
Let’s face it, we all fall down. But Ecclesiastes 4:9 reminds us, we need to have others in our lives to help us when we do.