Spiritual Direction

Implement the accountability factor in your group.

When you throw out a challenge to your group members, you hope for good results. Even if they are inspired to move closer to God or modify an unhealthy behavior, they may still follow through with action for a while but lose heart when the going gets tough. There are times when human discipline is not enough.

As the leader, you can introduce the accountability factor. Just as students study harder when a test is coming up, most people are more likely to stick with a prescribed program if they know they will be held accountable.

With accountability, however, one style doesn't fit everyone. Some people are quite willing to open up every area of their lives while others are very private individuals. Therefore, you need to carefully consider the makeup of your group before making a proposal that would make some members uncomfortable.

One of the following helps to maintain a commitment may be adaptable to your group:

Keep a journal. This works well for those who want to spend more time reading God's Word. Passages read can be recorded each day. For a more aggressive regimen, select a guide that requires you to read the entire Bible in one year. As they are read, passages are simply checked off.

Keeping a record of food that was consumed each day can help to establish more healthful eating habits. People who derive comfort from food may prefer to forego pleasure of the palate rather than look bad on paper. As an incentive for sticking to a diet, emphasize the fact that eating to glorify God is an even higher motive than losing weight. Weight loss is a bonus that comes from obedience.

Promote teamwork. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the ...

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