Tag Archives: accountability

Intentionally Intrusive Questions – Lessons from John Wesley


Nearly 300 years ago, John and Charles Wesley formed a discipling group on the campus of Oxford University. Fellow students scoffed at the group and called them “The Holy Club” because of their methodical approach to the Christian life.

The Wesley brothers aimed to use every waking moment of their lives to worship God, and this group was the center of their life together. They regularly met to read the Bible, discuss classic writings, serve the poor, fast, pray, and challenge each other with questions.

While all these elements are noteworthy, let’s take a moment to consider their practice of asking questions to each other.


What follows are 22 questions they used with one another on almost a daily basis.

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
  20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?


Three Considerations from the Holy Club

Accountability. The Wesley Brothers’ model of discipleship is worth emulating on many levels. Their example of committed love for one another is a critical part of the Christian life. In our individualistic age, we would do well to remember that God designed the Christian life to be lived out in the context of committed community.

At our church, we regularly encourage members to develop “intentionally intrusive relationships” with one another. This kind of accountability can make us uncomfortable at times, but we rarely grow in holiness when we are comfortable.

Who are you developing intentionally intrusive relationships with?

Who knows everything about you?

Do you run from soul-exposing relationships?

If so, why? What are you hiding?

What damage will be done to your soul if you keep running?

Who are you helping to follow Jesus in a similar manner?

God uses the intentional love of other brothers and sisters to push us into the light and further along the Highway of Holiness (Isaiah 35:8). You can learn more about what this kind of accountability could look like by reading this.


Questions. Well-aimed questions are often used by God to penetrate past the surface and pierce the deepest recesses of our hearts. God asked revealing questions in the Old Testament (Gen. 3:9-11; 1 Kings 19:9; Job 38-41), just as Jesus did during His earthly ministry (Matt. 16:15; John 6:67, 21:15-19). Asking and answering thoughtful questions is a good way to stir up the sinful mud that settles in our hearts.

But simply having and asking questions isn’t the goal.

Did you actually read the 22 questions above?

Did you pause and allow them to do work on your soul?

What are you in such a hurry to go do?

I encourage you to consider going through this list with another brother or sister in Christ. Feel free to sharpen the questions or make additions to the list. I don’t think the Wesley Brothers would mind. All they would ask is that their aim be the same as theirs—holiness.


Holiness. This “Holy Club” had one chief goal. They desired to be set apart from the world, and set apart to God. They longed to be free from their worldly ways. They didn’t want their sins coddled in the darkness. No, these men wanted to be holy. And they knew that holiness doesn’t just happen by itself (1 Tim. 4:7-8; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Peter 1:5-7).

That is why they pursued each other and questioned each other and encouraged each other and prayed for each other. And this is of course, the very purpose of our lives. “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

One of the most striking things for me in this study was that the Wesley Brothers very well may have not been believers until almost a decade after their Holy Club was formed. This doesn’t mean we should discount the importance of accountability or questions in the life of believers. It should however remind us that merely doing these things does not ensure anyone of a right standing with God. That comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.


As you pursue devotion to God, seek Him with diligence. But do not do it alone. God’s people are to be intentional in their love for each other, doing all they can to cultivate holiness in one another. My prayer is that God will use these types of intentionally intrusive questions in the context of committed relationships to produce faith and devotion to Christ until we see His face.


Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Wednesday Wisdom – Proverbs 20:5 Plumbing the Depths of the Heart

Proverbs 20:5 “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

It had been a hard few years of marriage. John and his wife hadn’t had a peaceful week as long as they could remember. Each day brought new struggles. Their intimacy was marked by frustration. Their conversations were always volatile.

As Philip drove the car and listened to John speak in general terms about the frustration he felt, Philip finally said “I bet that’s really hard man. Does it make you doubt that God loves you when that happens?” John paused for a moment and said, “I think so.” Philip proceeded to ask questions and for the first time in a long time, John opened up and began to speak and weep deeply. It was as if Philip had uncovered a spring in John’s heart that had been long sealed up.

Our hearts are deep chambers. God made us that way. We were created to love and hope deeply. Sin has, however, wounded us. Our hearts tend to become calloused and deadened over time. We try not to feel as much because it hurts. We’re honest less because we’re not sure anyone really cares how we feel any way. So we hide it all away in the depths of our hearts. Very often we don’t even know what’s stored away in there.

Our proverb instructs us of the importance of being around people of understanding. We need people who are filled with God’s Spirit who are able to draw out from us the deep waters of our soul. At the same time, it seems right that we ought strive to be these kind of people. We should pray that God will fill our churches with people who love one another enough to draw out the depths of one another’s hearts.

We need to have and be people who will draw out sin from the heart. We are liars by nature who hate for our sin to be exposed. We must not allow surface convos to suffice. Have people around you who ask hard and probing questions. Allow them to walk around in your soul and open up the draws of your heart. At the same time, seek to be the kind of person who loves others enough to dig into their hearts. Of course you need their permission, but ask deep questions and leave no sin buried away.

We also need to have and be people who draw out fears from the heart. Fear is the kryptonite to faith. To grow in devotion to Christ, we must have people who help expose the areas of fear in our lives. We need help getting behind our protective shells of hypocrisy and to honestly deal with what keeps us from trusting God. We should at the same time ask God to help us serve others in this way. Ask Him to give you wisdom, insight and understanding into the lives of others.

Our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all things (Jer. 17:7), so there is no telling what things might come up when we begin to plumb the depths of our hearts and the hearts of others. We should however love one another enough to pray for God to use us in each other’s lives to draw out what is in our hearts. And as we do this, we do it with great hope because we know that no matter what sins or fears are exposed, the love and the grace of God can cleanse them all and replace them with the promised fountain of Christ, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 14:4)

May we have in our lives people of understanding and may God make us those kind of people as well.