Who asks you about the condition of your heart? Who asks you about the state of your marriage? Who challenges you to remain pure in your thought life and viewing habits? Who holds you accountable?
When I became an instructor with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries in 1987, Bruce Wilkinson, WTB’s president, challenged all the new instructors to make a commitment that we would never teach a WTB event with known sin in our lives. We had to look Bruce in the eye, take his hand, and make that promise. As much as I respected Bruce, I was also fearful of disappointing him and having to confess I didn’t live up to my promise.
Yesterday, I had to reaffirm that commitment to Phil Tuttle, my long-time friend and WTB’s current president. At the end of InstructorFest 2015 at WTB’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA, Phil reaffirmed Walk Thru’s commitment to purity and accountability. He and three of WTB’s leaders stood in front of the auditorium. The 60+ instructors who were present were asked to come forward, take the hand of one of the leaders, and say, “By God’s grace and with his help, my life is pure, my marriage is strong, and it will stay that way until we meet again.”
I chose to stand in Phil’s line. Our friendship goes back to 1980 when we were students at Dallas Theological Seminary. Phil & Ellen and Carol & I were married one week apart. Carol and Ellen worked near each other in downtown Dallas and often had lunch together. I recruited Phil to become a WTB instructor in 1988. We’ve got some history together.
Rather than shake his hand, I gave Phil a hug and thanked him for keeping this tradition alive. I explained it was one of the more difficult, but meaningful parts of a WTB faculty conference. I then took his hand and repeated my affirmation of commitment, before I gave him another hug and reaffirmed our friendship.
In close to 30 years of ministry, I can count on two hands with fingers left over the number of people who have asked me the hard questions. Most of those people have been Walk Thru family. I am grateful for their commitment, accountability, positive peer pressure, and the healthy fear of not wanting to disappoint my friends that have helped me navigate the pitfalls of temptation.
Who do you have that asks you the hard questions?