Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Feeling the Heat

Again, I refer to my fellow pilgrim, Chuck Congram, who has been leading his congregation on a journey through the Sermon on the Mount. Today Chuck writes of a childhood experience and the need for accountability.

Out of Control?

He writes:

"All this cold weather has stirred memories for me especially around the home where I grew up. We had two sources of heat, a small "annex" in the kitchen in which we burned wood, and in the middle of the house in the dining room, was an oil burning stove which we refueled at least twice a day. Any heat that managed to migrate upstairs did so through the hole in the hallway floor directly above that heater. As a child, there was always a certain measure of fear around that stove. All of this came to a head one of the first evenings my parents left me on my own. I forget exactly what I was doing, but I do know that oil heater was making noises because, as far as I could discern, it was burning out of control. My first line of defense was to throw the manual switch to the 'off' position. However, it seemed to make little difference and I was faced with plan B. My father's business partner was the chief of the fire department and lived just a half block away. I made the call hoping that he would walk the four houses to our place to offer his assistance, but the next thing I heard was the sound of sirens. In a small town when the fire alarm sounds, just about everybody tunes in. Within minutes, all of the equipment was stacked up outside of our home and shortly after, my parents arrived. Needless to say it would be a long time before I was ever left on my own again-certainly not in the winter season.

That story speaks to the foremost reason why I believe I need accountability partners in my spiritual journey. I am just not discerning enough to be able to identify those times when my spiritual, emotional or relational life is in need of having the heat turned either up or down. I know I benefit most when there is someone alongside of me who can perceptively identify when I am at risk or perhaps have grown cold."

How about you? Could you be left alone? None of us can stand alone! Accountability is desperately important these days! The fires of temptation blaze! Who do you have in your life who will ask you the "hard questions"? Let's not journey alone! We may grow cold or we might burn.

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