This week my mind has been pondering the idea of accountability and why we, as Christians, don’t enjoy it. There are many things someone could hold me accountable for: eating a healthy diet, exercising, losing weight, reading a book a week, getting out of bed before 7:00am, etc. The list could go on and on and all are fine things to have an accountability partner to help you with. But, here in this post I’m talking about spiritual accountability; accountability regarding what REALLY matters – spiritual growth and sin.
Why do we shy away from it? Why does it make us cringe? Is it intimidating to actually admit to someone that we fail and mess up? That we do something in secret that we know is against God’s best for us? That we didn’t obey God when He asked us to sit next to the awkward person at church? Sure, it is embarrassing. We like to keep these types of things to ourselves, quietly ask God for forgiveness, and put on a mask to make people think that we are awesome Christian superheros. Well, I think this is hurting us more than helping us. We ain’t perfect. Sorry. You’re not. I’m not. The truth is known, why do we try to hide from it?
There was a point in my life for about two years where I met with an accountability group of 4 or so other ladies each week. Our purpose in meeting – to hold one another accountable for our sins and challenge one another to grow. There was little chit-chat about recipes, tv shows, or shopping. We committed to something serious, and we stuck with it. We signed a covenant giving each other the right to ask us hard questions, challenge us, and to speak truth without condemnation. We were committed to being open and honest and not hiding our sin from one another. Sure, it was a little awkward at first. Yet, during these two years I grew more spiritually than at any other point in my life. It wasn’t that I was just confessing my sins to these women, but their response to my sin. A simple confession wasn’t enough. A solution was put into place for the following week that would assist me in avoiding whatever I was struggling with. If I couldn’t come up with a good plan, then they would help. And, the next week they would ask if I followed through with the plan. This wasn’t just for “big sins,” but for things as simple as not having patience with my roommate, spending too much time on facebook, or not spending time in the presence of the Lord. Sin is serious – even the “small stuff.” And, this accountability group challenged me, prayed for me, and wanted to see me succeed.
Besides just talking about sin, we also made commitments to spend time with Jesus. Often time this included a minimum of how much time we would spend with Him each day and what special Spiritual disciplines we would partake in (like fasting, intercessory prayer, memorizing scripture). Sometimes we all memorized the same scripture together or met at another point during the week to pray or fast.
This whole thing of accountability can be scary. Maybe you think this is taking it a little far… that you and Jesus can handle it alone. Well, Jesus will forgive you your sins even if you don’t confess them to an accountability partner or group. But should our walk with Jesus merely be to scrape by so that we don’t end up in hell? That’s stupid.
Jesus wants us to live in His fullness and grace. His plans are SO good for us and He wants to see us living as children of the kingdom. He didn’t put us on earth to survive alone. He wants us to engage with other believers, ask the hard questions, and be willing to open our lives up to others. We aren’t perfect. We need other people. And other people need us.
Don’t sit back, afraid of what others will think. If you want to grow deeper and deeper in your relationship with Jesus, then get with a small group of other believers and commit to looking each other in the eye weekly and ask “Where have you sinned this week?” Help one another make changes. Pray. Grow together. It isn’t easy. But, so worth it.
I miss the accountability group I was once in. Yet, I look forward to connecting with a few ladies to have this type of relationship within the coming weeks. Live around here? Interested in being a part of a serious accountability group? Let me know.