Accountability Groups

Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’  Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.  And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

                                    2 Kings 5:9-14

 

In just a few chapters ahead of where last week’s devotional was from, we find the story of Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria. We learn that Naaman was an honorable man, one highly thought of by the king due to the Syria’s recent victory. He, unfortunately though, had leprosy. Because of God’s perfect planning, Naaman was able to learn about the prophet Elisha and the potential he had to heal Naaman. The Syrian king sent Naaman to Israel in search of healing. Through circumstances (ahem. Rather, God’s perfect planning), Naaman was sent to the prophet’s house.

Now, Elisha did not meet Naaman in person. Instead, he gave instructions to Naaman through a messenger. Naaman’s instructions were to wash himself in the river Jordan seven times. That’s it. Easy peasy. Apparently, however, Elisha’s methods offended Naaman’s senisibilities: first off, Elisha didn’t meet with him personally, and secondly, how everything happened was not how Naaman pictured it would be. Naaman assumed that Elisha would come to Naaman, pray over him, wave his hand, and heal his leprosy. Since he didn’t do that, Naaman got upset and returned home. There were, after all, rivers in Syria that were better than all the waters of Israel.

Had it not been for the boldness of Naaman’s servants to gently rebuke Naaman, he would have remained a leper. Instead, when he had returned home, his servants pointed out that had Elisha suggested that Naaman do a grand gesture to be healed, Naaman would have definitely obeyed. If Naaman would have been willing to do a large thing, why wasn’t he willing to do a smaller, simpler task?

Naaman must have seen the logic, and humbled himself to perform this small but important task. “And his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” Because of his obedience, and in great humility, Naaman’s health was restored. Naaman returned to Elisha with a new and thankful heart, one that declared that there was “no God in all the earth except in Israel.”

There are at least three lessons in the story of Naaman: how pride can hinder healing and change, how utterly important it is to have people around you who are willing to call you out when your actions are having a harmful effect on your spiritual walk, and how wise you would be to listen to those friends. We’ve seen the effect of the first lesson; now we’ll dig a little deeper into the last two.
 
Given the culture of that day, it’s difficult to consider Naaman’s servants to be his friends, but their courage in “calling him out” on his stubbornness was key, as was his realization that they were correct. Had he not accepted their suggestions, the consequences could have been bleak for them.
 
How many of us have friends or family whom we would allow to give pretty strong feedback about our actions or thoughts, if they felt our thoughts and actions to be detrimental to us? Are any of us in any type of accountability group that can accomplish the same thing? Is there at least one brother or sister in Christ whom you trust to be honest and straight with you, willing to call you out in love were you to go astray?

 

If not, why not? Friends, as members of the body of Christ, and brothers and sisters in Him, we need to do that for each other. We need to be open and honest with one another, and we need to be willing to receive feedback in love, trusting that it is given out of love for each other. That’s why meeting in small groups within the body of Christ, where scripture study and prayer happens, makes for such a perfect environment for spiritual growth to occur. When we are committed to helping each other grow in Christ, bearing with one another in love, we are walking in the way He intended us to. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend,” the proverb tells us.

May it ever be so with us, my friends.

Prayer Requests

  • Praise, praise, praise for missed faces of families who have been coming back to church—we have missed you so, and are delighted to see you again!
  • For those families and individuals who have had to leave our church due to job relocations or other things—may you know that we are praying for you to find a church family where you are and to know that you are always welcome here
  • For unity in His purpose
  • For us to glorify the Lord in church

 

Friends, the more tightly woven we are in unity, the more difficult it will be for the enemy to divide and try to devour. Mighty are the plans that the Lord has in mind for this church. May we make this journey together, confident and cohesive, open for the enrichment of our walk.

Quotes

 

“God is always seeking you. Every sunset, every clear blue sky, every ocean wave, the starring host of night. He blankets each day with the invitation, “I am here.” — Louie Giglio

 

“When we read God’s Word, He gives us a piece of Him. Just like when we speak, people get to know us, we get to know His heart, mind, and spirit. His Word gives us access to Him.”        –Maali Padro