One of the hardest things in my college churchgoing experience was finding friends who could keep me accountable in my spiritual walk. I was involved in small groups and I had an accountability partner, but these relationships felt only an inch deep – we all knew a lot about each other, but other than prayer (which is admittedly of prime importance), we did little about it.
On the other hand, the easiest thing to find was an accountability partner for working out. I think I could throw penny in any direction on campus and find a guy willing to scream at me and otherwise push me to grow big, hulking muscles, while I did the same for him. I certainly know that my best friend was constantly haranguing me to work out with him, and when we did, he was excellent and helping me push beyond my limits.
One reason I like to watch sports anime series is that I like to see this form of camaraderie where teammates do whatever is necessary to help each other grow. They hold each other accountable and are very confrontational about doing so – they won’t let their teammates get away with anything less than 100%.
In Suzuka, Miki is the one who best plays the role of track accountability partner for Yamato, encouraging him constantly to continue working hard. Suzuka, the captains, and the other athletes also demonstrate this influence throughout the series.
Man, wouldn’t it be great if we cared enough about each other to hold one another spiritually accountable? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had friends surrounding us that said, “You’re prayer life stinks – you need to do better. How can I help push you do become a prayer warrior?”
Maybe you do have those friends. Or maybe you’re like me, skimming just below the surface of casual friendship and above the depths of BFF-dom.
The real difference between a good, solid friendship among Christians and one where each holds the other accountable is this: love. After all, if you love someone, you’ll do whatever it takes to help them be all that they can.
What about you? Do you have relationships like this in your church? Or do you have relationships like this outside of the church and spiritual context?