I have been meeting with a group of young pastors for the past several days. We are part of a leadership development program called uptick and we are being coached and mentored by a pastor who has a huge heart for helping younger leaders. Our topic this week has been accountability. We all know the importance of friendship and accountability, but why don’t we make it more of a priority in our lives?
A pastor who has struggled with an addiction in his life came and shared with us today. He shared the importance of finding at least one true friend who you can be open and honest with. I don’t know about you, but for me, this thought was scary. Outside of my wife, I really don’t have anyone who I feel I can confide in. That definitely needs to change. I will be praying and working on developing more accountability in my life, and I challenge you to do the same. In Hebrews, we are told we are naked and exposed before God. You can’t hide before God, so why do we try to hide all the problems we face in life?
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13 NLT
The following is part of a devotion that Craig Groeschel used at Lifechurch during the Life Development series. I was reminded of it during our talks this week, so I found it on my hard drive and decided to share it here on my blog. Accountability is so important in our life, so let’s commit together to taking it seriously. This is powerful, so read it slowly.
When I was in school, one of the things I often wanted to know about an assignment was if it was going to be graded. If it was, then I’d put more into it. If it wasn’t going to be graded, then I didn’t work as hard.
My life today demonstrates this principle just as much as it did when I was in school.
Accountability closes the gap between intentions and actions.
Most people prefer not to be graded in life. We need to embrace the truth that life is graded. Hebrews 4:13 says that nothing is hidden from God’s sight. At the end of our life on earth, we’ll stand before God and give an account of what we’ve done—or haven’t done—in His name.
There are four common reasons that most people resist accountability:
- We fear failure. If we have accountability, then people will know when we fail.
- We don’t see the value of accountability. We think we can do it on our own, but the truth is, we probably haven’t and won’t.
- We’re rebellious. We don’t like having someone else hold us responsible for our actions.
- We’re full of pride. We think we don’t need others. But we weren’t created to accomplish things alone. God created us to need Him and to need each other.
The Bible teaches us that we must overcome these barriers to accountability. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man that falls and has no one to help him up!” The truth is that it’s very unlikely that you’ll accomplish God’s plan without correction. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way.” We’re prone to wander. We may start strong, but our attention quickly drifts.
I’ve found that I’m easily distracted from God’s plan by many of the cares of the world. That’s why I have people hold me accountable—they help me get back on track. When a rocket launches, headed for the moon, it’s only on track ten percent. Ninety percent of the time adjustments are being made, but in the end, they reach the goal. That’s what accountability does for us. We may start to drift off course, and then someone lovingly comes in to help us adjust. You cannot correct what you are unwilling to confront.
Mike, a timely post in light of all we are reading about prominent men and women who have sought to hide and cover up addictive sin. Thanks for being transparent about your own need to find that partner. I have a couple of accountability partners I trust. However, when I am struggling with an issue, there is a battle that seems to rage within me. Once voice says "tell them everything" and another says, "tell them nothing or just tell them part of the story." Do I fear their response or am I reluctant to give up that which is keeping me from loving God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength? You have challenged me to step fully into the light and to step out of the shadows with my partners.
Thanks Sam for sharing. I think we all have that same battle in our minds when we share with others. I pray that we will help each other as well by probing and and talking about things that we see in each other as we minister together. Thanks for your friendship and transparency.
I was listening to a message from 1st John yesterday. The pastor was teaching through 1st John and came through this section. I was really encouraged through this section and think it ties straight into someone’s own accountability.
Living in the Light
1st John 1:5-10
5 This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.
8 If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
Talk about some straight up instruction… John’s left us no other way to read through this. If we read it, we’ve got to talk about it, figure out how this applies to us. John’s writing this letter to Christians; I’m a Christian. John’s telling them that they’re sinners, every one of them, and if they deny it, they’re calling God a liar.
We live in a society that likes making excuses for sin to keep everything politically correct. We say we’re “humans” instead of “sinners”. We don’t want to be mean to people or ourselves. But here’s the thing, we’re sinners. How can we walk in the light when we’re not recognizing where we’re at??? How can we hold ourselves accountable if we’re pretending everything’s fine???
This has held true in my life. When I’ve lived my life in secret, made excuses for my sin, and walked toward the darkness, the only thing that brought me back again was to do as John says, confess!!! I’ve counseled youth, and the ones that make it through successfully have done the same, coming clean about all their junk, and getting out from underneath the burden. Such a beautiful thing here, confession, forgiveness, grace!!!
We read this verse and normally say “How can I walk in the light? How can I keep it up? How hard must I work?” But it’s simple. We just follow the instructions. We confess, we open ourselves up before God and He does the rest.
Transparency, being naked (because we already are), calling our sin what God calls our sin, is the key to this accountability.
Mike, you mentioned that accountability is important, you’ve recognized the need for more in your own life and you’re prayerfully working towards that goal. I’m at the same spot. Lets keep this in remembrance, our need to be transparent with God, and with our Brothers and Sisters. This will bring not only forgiveness and accountability, but also the fellowship we are in such need of.
Sorry to be long winded, but you motivated me man!!!
Thanks for the post!