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. Answer to prayer.I cried out to God for a way out and BAM He sends the light to see the way through your article. I am encouraged.

  2. GOD sent this to Me! It was so uplifting and just the encouragement I need at this time in my life. Prayers please

  3. I have become so much closer to Christ lately. I really appreciate these daily blogs. This one hits home as I struggle with social situations and making friends. I need to allow people into my life but I do struggle desperately with how I think people feel about me or the judgements I think they are making about me. Being reminded that Jesus is there for me through everything gets me through and keeps me going. Thank you again for all the uplifting words you give so many people everyday!

  4. Micromanaging and perfectionism certainly have distracted me from becoming the woman that God intends and also distract me from serving others. I need to let it go! (Have to ask God to help me with this)

  5. Oh Karen-did I need this today? YES! I have struggled my whole life with binge eating. At age 51 I finally found a life changing program where I lost 75 pds. I have put 40 pds back on over the last year. Going back to the old ways & habits. I started the program 3 weeks ago and have been really struggling sticking with it.
    Your verses reminded me what I did different last time-I prayed constantly. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t given God my all in this area of my life.
    I’m going to write these verses down & memorize them!! Putting God first-I can do it!!
    Thanks so much!!

  6. I thank the Lord for the timely word this was for me. God has been showing me much about my own heart and how it deceives me and I deceive myself in very subtle and unintentional ways. I have always relied on my Sisters in Christ as accountability partners in the 17 yrs. I have been walking with the Lord. God revealed to my heart today that for me this is my “Dangerous Familiar” and that he wants me to submit my whole heart to my Husbands leadership and accountability for me. This isn’t to say that I will give up the deep relationships and friendships God has given over the years and I know God will continue to use those as accountability for me, I just want to place sharing my heart in all its weakness and vulnerability with my Husband as well so that I am not hiding any part of my heart from him. He is God’s gift for me to protect me and lead me and is accountable to the Lord for that purpose and I want to willingly come under his leadership so that Christ will be revealed through our marriage:) I am thrilled at all God will show us together as I step out in faith in what he’s leading me to do:)

  7. Ho how these words challenge me to be better…to rise above the familiar that stunts my spiritual growth. My dangerous familiar is definitely gossip. Sometimes it is so subtle, but is gossip nonetheless. Thank you for reminding me that it is “sin.” Make me better God…

    Thank you for sharing this timely message!

  8. Thank you for these words of truth. Over the last year I’ve gone through a huge transition with moving to a new state. I found myself reverting to familiar unhealthy habits when my world was changing. Your words rekindle my faith that with God I can start new and dump those unhealthy habits!

  9. i have a couple of accountability partners — my mother and my niece — to discuss struggles. I researve confessing sins to the Lord, however, leaving them at His feet and asking for forgiveness and help in the future. That is what works for me!

  10. Wow! The way you put this for us to understand I appreciate so much! I so know the dangerous familiar very well & although I don’t want to go back there I often do but not without guilt & remorse! Just recently before I slipped the Holy Spirit got ahold of me & I was in a cradle position repeating “Jesus” that was all I could say at the moment & God intervened & did for me what I could not do for myself!! It was truly powerful. I have also been blessed with someone to confess, talk & reason things out with & it works great when I actually pick up the phone & call so thank you so much for your post & your honesty! It’s a great reminder that we can’t do this alone & we were not meant to conquer these battles or sins alone..thank God for His unending grace! Thank you & God bless you all!

  11. Accountability does seem to be a key to forsaking our favorite sin pattern. It is difficult to own up to our problems in the first place, but once we know they are exposed for what they are, it isn’t as easy to feed them on the sly.

  12. I’m fairly new to coming back to Jesus. I don’t think I would/could have understood this a year ago. Today it speaks directly to my heart and I know I must not simply embrace it, but act on it. Thank you.

  13. Wow, this really hit home. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until I read it. It truly spoke to me and I am going to try to turn to Him instead of to my old ways. Thank you for sharing this!

  14. Karen,
    Thank you so much for your blog post today! I have been struggling with past sins am this is something I desperately needed to read. I also would love to have an accountability partner, but do not. I’m sure that God will provide one in due time. I think he’s trying to teach me to lean on Him right now.
    I enjoy reading your posts and thank you again.

  15. A friend and I have just started being accountable to one another – but we both are encouragers by gift, so it’s hard sometimes to be tough, but we’re trying! :)

  16. wow! Just what I needed to read today. While I don’t believe I have one bad vice per se, I feel tempted to avoid and run away when things get tough.
    Thanks for the timely and extremely encouraging message. I already shared with two others. :) I am starting a women’s Bible study and would love for this to be content for the 2nd round!

  17. Your writing is like a new batteries in my old flashlight!
    The things I know, but had shoved into a corner, are visible again.
    Thank you for your timely message.

    May your days overflow with His Blessings!

  18. I cannot begin to explain how timely this was. I have been in a constant state of struggle this week as I’m dealing with something unpleasant and therefore turn to not so great choices for comfort rather than turning to God. And all the while, I’m telling myself that it’s not the right “cure” and yet I continue. Thank you for being God’s conduit. He found a way to get my attention!

  19. If Jesus said it, then I need it! If His disciples were sent out by two’s I should follow His lead. After all, He picked them to do His work just like He has chosen me. Thank you for such important words today. I do not currently have an actual accountability partner as it it hard sometimes for me to truly share as I am more of an introverted but I will try it.

  20. thanks so much for your P31 and blog posts. they are very timely. I wish I had an accountability partner. I had heard of it a few years back and its come up a couple times since, but I just haven’t been able to get myself into that kind of a relationship yet. I think I need to pray over this and seek guidance. We all have a lot going on and its too easy to let things sit on the back burners for far too long. Hopefully I will gain some insights and maybe even so opportunities in this area…. I have spent a lot of time somewhat in hiding and alone due to some hurts, betrayals and lost trust. I am slowing building my life and putting it back together and getting on the right track and I know that this is a key step in getting my life and myself on a track I want to be on. thanks.

  21. I recently moved 1000 miles from the only home I’ve ever known away from family and friends and have been struggling to find my way. This devotion has encouraged me and I would like to thank you for posting it.

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