I don’t know many people who would say, “You know what I need more of in my life? Accountability.” It’s just not a popular word. It doesn’t give anyone the warm fuzzies. While plenty of people would agree that it’s an important thing to have, no one seems to be running around trying to find it. 

Unfortunately, I feel like accountability has gotten a bad rap. When people think of being held accountable, they often think of getting caught for doing something wrong. They may think about corporate accountability and businesses that have been caught committing some form of financial fraud. Or they may think about political or governmental accountability…and let’s be honest, those things don’t typically conjure up positive feelings.   

What is Accountability?

By and large, we have been conditioned to think of accountability as accepting responsibility for ethical conduct – a willingness to be judged on performance. And no one’s jumping up and down to have someone judging them on their “performance” as a follower of Jesus. Even the most un-self-aware of us are usually quite aware of how short we fall in that area.  

However, I’d like to ask you to consider a different idea of accountability. What if, instead of it being about someone keeping a record of all the things you are doing poorly, Christian accountability could be more about encouraging you toward what is good. What if it was about being in relationship with someone to keep an “account” of your “ability,” not your inability  

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” We are meant to be in a relationship with people who we sharpen and who sharpen us. We were created for community and cannot walk in freedom without other believers who have been given permission to speak truth and love into our lives.  

Who is Holding YOU Accountable?

Do you currently have accountability partners or mentors in your life? If so, I’m sure you can speak to how those people have encouraged you and pushed you forward in your walk with God and your healing journey.   

But if you’re like the vast majority of believers today, you likely don’t have these key relationships in your life. You may have good friends who know a lot about you, but accountability partners are more than that. There is a clear intention behind accountability relationships. These are the people who have been given “carte-blanche,” or all-access, to your life. People who know everything that is going on in your world and have been given full permission to not only encourage and pray for you but also to challenge and ask you the hard questions. As such, it’s vital to have accountability partners who you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, are FOR YOU. People you know whose hard questions and tough love come from a heart that deeply cares about you as a brother or sister in Christ.   

Steps to Finding an Accountability Partner

And for the record, you don’t need 50 accountability partners in your life. We encourage you to have even just two or three. Perhaps you all meet as more of an “accountability group,” or you might meet with these people 1-on-1. Either way, here are a few tips on how to start establishing these critical relationships in your life:  

1. Pray for the Lord to provide them! Consider people in your church, small group, or Sunday School class. Here are a few other key characteristics to look for in accountability partners: 

  • A mature Christian
  • Able to confront problems and communicate effectively 
  • Able to pray with people 
  • Has a good understanding of biblical principles, the power of prayer, and professing the Word of God  
  • Involved in Christian community through a local church 
  • Understands the need for healthy boundaries in relationships 
  • Able (and willing) to speak the truth in love  

2. Once you have identified someone to be an accountability person in your life, establish an expectation for communication and interaction. How often will you connect with them? Do you have permission to call or text them when you are struggling? Always stay prayerful about the relationship, and remember that it’s more than okay to stop meeting with someone if you don’t have peace about it. The Lord is faithful to connect us with the right people but also to use discernment in the process.  

3. Discuss how you will spend your time together. It should be strategic and intentional. Remember that people can’t sharpen us if they don’t know what is happening in our lives. So commit to being honest and vulnerable with one another when you connect. 

4. Determine your personal goals and desires. Accountability only works when you want it! What do you want your accountability partner(s) to ask you about when you connect with them? If you’re struggling with spending time in the Word, for example, tell your accountability partner(s) that you want them to ask you how your time in the Word has been every time you meet. This allows them to feel completely comfortable with asking you hard questions (and you not to be offended by them) because you literally gave them the questions to ask.  

5. Maintain proper boundaries with your accountability partner(s). Their role is to be a supportive cheerleader, not a counselor or caretaker. They are not called to be “Holy Spirit Junior” in your life, but an addition to the relationship that you are continually cultivating with the Lord.  

Fullness With Accountability

When accountability is done in an intentional and healthy way, it will bring such a fullness to your life. These relationships will become some of the sweetest and most vital connections you have. And you will experience first-hand what it means to live in the depth and richness of close, honest, vulnerable life-giving community with other believers. I can guarantee you that once you have a taste of it, you’ll never be satisfied with anything less. 

Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.

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