Imagine a car hydroplaning toward the edge of a steep embankment, no guardrail in place. Down the car plunges, and the inhabitants face serious injury or even death. This catastrophic sight is a parallel to a Christian who goes through life with no established pattern of fellowship and accountability with fellow Christians. In the moment of deep temptation and a dangerous spiritual trajectory, there is not the self-control, humility, or spiritual strength to invite true counsel and exhortations that guard our hearts from a fall. We cannot build a guardrail at the last minute. A guard rail must be built slowly, over time. The posts must be dug deep into the foundation of God’s Word, and the steel girders bolted into place through consistent time and attention. A Christian may feel that this effort is unnecessary, a labor that is not needed in many seasons of fair days and bright skies. Many Christians take the odds that they will be able to steer to safety in their moment of significant temptation. But wisdom is found in the disciplined and faithful effort of those who take the time to build a pattern of accountability, to build a history of trust and welcomed correction. Then, in the moment of danger, that pattern can turn into a guard rail to preserve our souls, to keep ourselves heading on the path of God’s Word.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15 ESV)