I have a friend, near my age, whose father (I’ll call the father “Bob”) was a World War II fighter pilot who survived being shot down. He also spent 12 hours adrift in the Mediterranean when the Germans torpedoed the transport ship he was on—one of only a few survivors. Like many of “the Greatest Generation,” Bob was a tough cookie who didn’t need anybody telling him how to be “safe.”

In the early1980s, long after the War, Bob retired from his job and treated himself and his wife to a new Cadillac to enjoy on trips. Much to his annoyance, Bob discovered that his new Caddy came with the new-fangled, government-required seat belts. The dealer wouldn’t remove the seat belts (that was illegal) so, as soon as Bob got his new car home, he removed them himself.

Bob wasn’t the only person in that generation who didn’t take kindly to being told to wear seat belts. But time has proven them wrong. In 1977 federal law mandated that by 1983 all new cars (like Bob’s Cadillac) had to come equipped with seat belts. And since the use of seat belts became law, traffic fatalities have fallen steadily. Since 1983, seat belt use in America has risen from 14 percent of drivers to 86 percent of drivers in 2012. And Primary Seat Belt laws—making failure to buckle up a punishable violation—have also resulted in the steady decline of traffic deaths.

Obviously, we should always wear a seat belt. It’s smart, it’s safe, and it’s the law (Romans 13:1). So, before I go further: What if I told you there’s a safety precaution for your soul?

Seat Belts for Your Soul

There are two prerequisites for serving Christ faithfully: being here physically and being healthy spiritually. Auto seat belts can help us remain here, but what about a seat belt for the soul?

Just like the dashboard bells, chimes, and lights in our cars, the Bible is also filled with “alerts.” There are commands, exhortations, warnings, and instructions for us to heed. And just like the dashboard reminders that tell us to buckle up, you and I must obey the Bible’s warning messages.

But I want to focus here on what may be the most effective, but least employed safety belt in the kingdom of God: mutual accountability. Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts us to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another” (italics added). Let me recommend three ways to assemble together to promote accountability and the safety of your soul.

Three Points of Safety for Your Soul

The standard auto seat belt is called a three-point system because it connects in three places: both sides of the car seat and over the shoulder. Just so, there are three ways you and I must be connected to ensure safety for our soul:

  • Corporate accountability. By simply attending worship every Sunday you will see and converse with people who can affirm your health and well-being. In other words, by just attending worship you demonstrate that you are “alive and well.” That’s not a lot of accountability, but it’s a start.
  • Family accountability. Here, I’m referring to your spiritual family. Every Christian needs to be involved in an extended family-sized group—call it a Sunday school class, a fellowship class, or a home-based group that meets weekly (or regularly). In this group you can do what you can’t do in a worship service: talk, interact, contribute, ask questions, get answers, participate in serving others, use your spiritual gifts, and so on. Families are a natural source of accountability.
  • Personal accountability. There are some things that require a more intimate and personal level of accountability. Every Christian needs a few soulmates—close, trusted, and faithful friends who love unconditionally. These friends will pray, weep, and even wound when needed (Proverbs 27:6); they will let you say, “I’m struggling and need your help.”

Do you have your three-point “soul belt” in place? Like the chiming of a seat belt reminder, accountability can be annoying. But remember: The life you save by being accountable may be your own.

Check-Up Challenge: Commit to buckling up your soul with the three-point seat belt of corporate, family, and personal accountability.