It’s increasingly common for Christians to ask one another the tough questions: How is your marriage? Have you been spending time in the Word? How are you doing in terms of sexual purity? Have you been sharing your faith? But how often do we ask, “How much are you giving to the Lord?” or “Have you been robbing God?” or “Are you winning the battle against materialism?”
A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person. As long as I am by myself in the confession of my sins, everything remains in the clear, but in the presence of a brother, the sin has to be brought into the light.
[God has] helped me understand that accountability is closely tied to visibility and that personal holiness will not come through anonymity but through deep and personal relationships with my brothers and sisters in the local church. And so I have sought to make myself more visible that I may accept correction and rebuke when necessary. At the same time I have renewed my commitment to the One who is always watching and who knows every word I write and every intention of my heart.
We need accountability. Left to our own devices, we will soon devise or succumb to all kinds of evil. As Christians we know that we need other believers to hold us accountable to the standards of Scripture. Passages such as Ecclesiastes 4:12 remind us that “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The Bible tells us that “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17) and that we are to “stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:24-25). Life is far too difficult and we are far too sinful to live in solitude. We need community. We need accountability. And God has anticipated our need by giving us the local church as the primary means of this accountability.
Each of us is accountable to God for our personal holiness. At the same time, God never intended that we should battle sin single-handedly… Is it sometimes hard to confess my need and ask for help? Absolutely! It requires that I humble myself and acknowledge that I don’t have it all together. The very pride that keeps you from taking off your mask and getting real is the same pride that will cause you to fall into sin. Humbling yourself by letting others into your life and allowing them to help you and hold you accountable will release the sanctifying, transforming grace of God in your life.
When we enter into the “in Christ” existence we become one with those who are in Christ. Eternal life is received individually, but it is lived out in community. And the community battles sin in the body by confronting sinners and by requiring spiritual accountability.
The Gift of Eternal Life by Ajith Fernando taken from The Supremacy of Christ by Ajith Fernando, copyright 1995, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 183.
1. How often did you meet with God this week?
2. What has God been saying to you through His Word this week?
3. What sins in your personal or business life did you experience this week that need confession?
4. Are you giving to the Lord’s work regularly and proportionately as God has blessed you? What percentage did you give last month?
5. What movies did you see this past week? Do you feel good about viewing these movies? What about the Internet? Would you be able to tell your fellow Christians in your church what you have seen without being embarrassed?
6. How did you influence your marriage and family this week? How positively? How negatively? What could you do to improve?
7. Did you pray for me/us this week?
8. What challenges or struggles are weighing on your mind?
9. What lives did you influence for Christ this week?
10. Did you just lie to me?
To be part of the community of faith entails a responsibility to hold each other accountable to Christ as judge, under whom and in whose name we care called to a growing obedience and to an open admission of our faults. Such a responsibility will also entail punishing those who continual and flagrant sins cast scorn on Christ’s call and character as the Lord of the church.
The plain, unvarnished truth is, that every one of us needs the accountability that comes from formal, regular, intimate relationships with other godly people.
With power and responsibility must come accountability. A leader without accountability is an accident waiting to happen.
If you’re not accountable in life that means ultimately that your life doesn’t count.
Accountability questions asked of his fellow pastors:
1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising?
2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?
4. Have you spend adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
5. Have you given priority time to your family?
6. Have you fulfilled the mandates of your calling?
7. Have you just lied to me?
Although it is healthy to be ashamed of the sins you are involved in, don’t let that shame become one of Satan’s weapons to keep you trapped. Secrecy is often a Christian’s biggest enemy, while confession can bring freedom and release from the bondage of an overwhelming sense of shame. If no one knows of your personal moral failures, there is no one to be accountable to, or to help lift you up in prayer or encourage you. Don’t let your pride destroy you (Prov. 29:23; Mark 7:21; 2 Chr, 32:26). In an accountability relationship, you choose a confidant that you can be honest and open with about your addiction. Confess your sin (James 5:16). Be sure to choose someone of the same sex. Preferably, select a discrete person that has some spiritual maturity in their walk with Christ, and who has a helpful, non-condemning spirit.