The Dangerous Familiar {or why we need one another}

ANNOUNCEMENT: The winner of the free weekend at our Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies Retreat is: Mandy Kelly  Congratulations! I will have our P31OBS team get a ahold of you at the email address you left when you commented. Wish I could afford to send all of you who entered!


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d9.5Did you find your way here after reading my Proverbs 31 devotion today called The Dangerous Familiar? If so, welcome! {If not, click here to read this devotion about returning to destructive habits and sins, even when we truly desire not to}

The Dangerous Familiar.

Does that sound familiar? My pastor in high school, when I first began my relationship with God, called them “besetting sins”. Those wrongful behaviors that we just can’t seem to shake. And so? We return to them over and over again in a viscous cycle of defeat.

Maybe it is lying. Or bitterness and resentment. Some choose adultery. Or porn. Or stealing. It can be gluttony, unrighteous outbursts of anger. Gossip. Jealousy. Prayerlessness.

The list is endless, really. Sometimes the battle against these sins seems endless too.

Why do we—just like our cat Dash in the devotion—return over and over again to the dangerous familiar? Especially when we know from past experience that it never ends well?

In the devotion I wrote:

“Today’s verse labels those familiar places that enslaved us before we knew God as “weak and miserable.” Paul writes these words to the Christians: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Galatians 4:8-9).

And that is just what returning to old habits makes us — weak and miserable.

Determine today to stop hiding out in old destructive habits. Instead, come out into the light of His glorious grace and learn a new method of coping. Race to Him instead of running back to your old ways. His Word is alive and active. It can help us break horrible habits and form new, Jesus-pleasing ones as we reply with a resounding “No” to returning to the dangerous familiar.”

Easier said than done? Yes. But I have found a strategy that helps me with my “besetting sin”, my “dangerous old familiar”:


I’ve often wondered why, in the New Testament, when Jesus sent someone to perform a task for him, usually two were sent. In the early days of the church, the disciples were sent out in pairs. And when it comes to confessing our sins and shortcomings, of course we are to take these to God himself, but do you know what else we are to do?

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” James 5:16 (HCSB)

Yes. Confess. Confess your sins. TO ONE ANOTHER.

Now, I don’t take that to believe it means to everyone in your contacts list in your phone. Just pick one person. Or maybe two. Or three in some cases. But obey what this verse urges and confess.

I LOVE the way the Amplified Version of the Bible reads. It explains more in depth what was meant in the original Greek language that the Bible was written in:

“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”

Did you catch something else? We not only confess. We pray for each other. Prayer is powerful. Dynamic in its working.

I plan to write more another day about how I have accountability partners in my life. I have one for my marriage. Another for my ministry. And yes, I have an accountability partner for my “dangerous familiar”.  She is someone to whom I not only can confess when I am tempted to sin. {Or when I just did!}, but she prays for me, offers words of sincere encouragement, and the occasional straight-shooting’, this-is-for-your-own-good hard truth I need to hear. Accountability partners needs to be both tender and tough.

I just love my accountability partner. Most days. ;-)

What are your thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear them!

let-it-go-bundlePlease leave a comment today. One of you will be randomly chosen to receive a a giveaway of her latest book and Bible study DVD series, LET. IT. GO.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith. 

This giveaway includes the book LET. IT. GO. along with the 6-week DVD teaching series including one Bible study guide.

You may watch and do this Bible study alone or gather a few friends or church members and form a group.

LET. IT. GO. is a somewhat humorous, yet spiritually practical book will help you to:

  • Take control of your schedule yet welcome interruptions from God
  • Draw the line between mothering and micromanaging
  • Influence your husband instead of manipulating him
  • Learn to control your emotions when you can’t control the circumstances
  • Stop pursuing the appearance of perfection and start pursuing the person of God

Ok, let’s here from you about the dangerous familiar and your thoughts on confessing, praying, and having an accountability partner. Do you have one? Wish you did? Wouldn’t touch that idea with a ten-foot pole?


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  1. I just read about your Wednesday blogs in MADE TO CRAVE DEVOTIONAL by Lysa TerKeurst. After reading what you have written here, I would like to receive these via email. May I do that please & TU?

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful devotion and application! I am grateful for accountability partners! The story about Dash is going to stick in my mind. That little kitty sounded so cute. You do such a good job of telling a story to remind me of what I should or shouldn’t do. Hope that little kitty lived a long fuzzy life at the Ehman house.

  3. I hope one day i will be able to have an accountability partner in whom i will wholeheartedly trust, for now I just choose to bring up such ‘reoccurring issues’ directly to God. :)

  4. Between recent health issues and a super stressful career I tend to put God and my relationship with him on the back burner. God is faithful and will always be there. If I don’t stay on top of my career and healthy they could deteriorate. At the end of the day, letting go and putting God first make all other issues fall in place. The daily struggle! :)

  5. I have entered to win a copy of this book that sounds like just what I am looking for. I have been looking on how to “Let It Go”, to try to figure out how to learn to control what I should, trust God with what I can’t and to be able to decide which is which.
    I do not have an accountability partner., tough I am in a small group (ladies bible study) and that really helps to let people in. This was a very helpful testimony and couldn’t have come at a better time.

  6. This devotion really hit home for me. When I get emotionally stressed at home I turn on the tv and watch silly shows to give myself a break. That can eat up a lot of time and doesn’t help at all. I should do something that allows me to listen to God instead, like read, talk with a friend, take a walk, pray, crafts, or housework.

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