The Beauty of Accountability
For the majority of my life, I was not held accountible for much. The absence of accountability in my life was not a failure of my parents, but a concious decision I made.
Accountability essentially refers to holding someone responsible for their choices, or making sure someone else knows that they will be held responsible for their actions.
I always heard about the importance of having an accountability partner in church, but I never understood the context of that relationship.
On one hand, my parents would make sure that I would clean up my room or finish my homework. So, in some form, they held me accountible. This is not the kind of accountability they were talking about in church.
In college, I experienced accountability for the first time. It wasn’t a group that met each week, or even organized at all for that matter. Accountability came in a group of friends that would look at me when I was doing something stupid and call me out. I still feel indebted to those friends.
Even though I had incredible friends who would push me, I still wasn’t held accountible. The brotherly accountability that I always heard about didn’t even take hold in seminary. Think about that for a minute. Seminary, the place all the pastors are trained. Surely, there is accountability there. Nope. Everyone is serving a church or so busy with their studies. Survival is all that matters. Professors would encourage us to take heart the missions statements of the seminary about accountability and growing in our faith, but here’s the thing: You cannot force accountability.
This year, I believe I am experiencing real, brotherly accountability. I don’t remember exactly when, but earlier this year, or even late last year, a friend asked me if I would do a Bible reading plan with him and a couple other ministers. I agreed and we started reading the Bible and meeting each week to talk about what we have read. No sermon prep. No agenda. Just reading accountibly.
It got off to a rocky start. Everyone in the group was busy. There was not a single hour during the week that was not spoken for for someone in the group, but we kept meeting. Several weeks were skipped, until one day we just decided, even if other group members couldn’t meet, we were still going to meet.
This is NOT a knock on the other guys in the group. Far from it, but God used their absence to do a work in me, through a brother in Christ. I can only hope this feeling is mutual.
Each week, I feel a desire to read God’s Word. I have never felt like I was missing a meal before if I didn’t read, but now I do. The evidence is all around- my mood starts to get sour, I push off my responsibilities at home, I become lazy, I allow anger and malice into my life, and frankly, I am much less happy when I am apart from the Word.
I believe this is exactly what the Old Testament is talking about when it says “You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes.” Psalm 119:4–5 and “My soul is consumed with longing for Your rules at all times.” Psalm 119:20.
I wholeheartedly believe that dwelling in Scripture is the answer for the church today. You will feel empowered, renewed, refocused, and meek at the same time. The more I read Scripture, the more I realize that I am a small, insignificant being — and that’s okay. God created me that way. The eternal significance of my life is nothing apart from Him. This new perspective will give you a yearning to see the lost found and the dead raised to life.
So what is the point of all this? A couple things.
First, to everyone who has corrected me and sought to see me succeed in spite of myself. Thank you. Second, find someone who you can count on to keep you accountable. This step is tricky. It may not be your best friend, but that isn’t the point of accountability. Who knows, over time, you may see that letting go of your secrets is freeing and empowering and rids sin of its power over you.
Finally, Christians, do not neglect yourself of the power of the Holy Spirit. He will illuminate the Scripture to you when you commit to reading them. Meditate on them. Dwell on them. Make them a priority. Write your time in Scripture in your calendar with a Sharpie. Just do it.