The Bible calls us the body of Christ. Today, we are a body that is broken and mangled. What has to happen is we must come together as one body in the name of Jesus Christ.
John 10:10 says, “Jesus said…’I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” We are to be a vibrant community of people who are alive with the spirit of God and who share the joy of that life with others! Jesus wants us to experience a higher quality of worship, life, and ministry. He wants us to experience his presence, his healing, and his salvation.
Too many people are getting away with drifting away and becoming spiritual Lone Rangers! We’re not doing a very good job of keeping each other accountable! Avoiding accountability is a heart problem. 1 Corinthians 10:21 – You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. If we choose to continue to function as unaccountable individuals we will never be able to trick or fool God into thinking or believing that what we’re doing is for him.
We’re used to being accountable… As children, we were accountable to our parents; as students, we were accountable to our teachers; as employees, we are accountable to bosses; as spouses, we are accountable to our significant other! When it comes to spiritual character and/or spiritual development, we seem to take issue with that – we get an “attitude” when we are held accountable in those areas!
Accountability is a fundamental requirement to improve in any area of life. Not only are we accountable to God; but, we are accountable to each other as well! Some people like to “pick and choose” the parts of Scripture that they believe and follow – while they exclude those portions of Holy Scripture that tend to make them feel uncomfortable. Our fight is against something more powerful than us. Our sinful temptations are not overcome by our own faithfulness.
Ephesians 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Satan wants to make us unaccountable to Almighty God – he wants to present the defense of being “morally handicapped” – knowing full well that such a defense will not fly in the face of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Sin is most dangerous to the isolated person. Sin wants to remain private and secret, but God wants it exposed and dealt with in the fellowship of other believers. Sins is not just the presence of doing wrong, it’s the absence of doing right.
“Everyone knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety” – Woodrow Wilson
Luke 17:3 says, “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build one another up.” God expects everyone to give a reckoning for what they have done or with whatever they have been given – time, talents, and resources.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:23-25) The Bible tells us not to give up “meeting together” because God knows that when we hold each other accountable we will be tempted to not even show up.
Our spiritual growth is dependent on how well we are held accountable. We are all subject to make mistakes – none of us are immune from that! James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” As well, Galatians 6:1-5 tells us, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.” – French philosopher Albert Schweitzer
Accountability is not about apportioning blame. Blame is unhealthy, wasteful and demoralizing. While it may be important to learn from mistakes and to ensure that you continually grow, blame ultimately achieves very little. Excuses are nothing more than a lie that we make up to keep ourselves from being held accountable for what really took place! Everybody needs to have an “accountability partner” – no matter who we are! We all need somebody that we can confide in – even preachers! We all need somebody to hold us accountable in a Godly fashion!
Jesus held the disciples to a high level of accountability because he knew this would motivate them to accomplish all of God’s will. He never used accountability to instill fear. Jesus shows us how accountability can catalyze growth and progress.
- Motive – Jesus didn’t use accountability to beat His disciples into doing something that they did not want to do. God always has our long-term interests in mind. When we are aware that we will have to give an account for our words, actions and results, we behave more responsibly. Accountability should never be a threat to bring shame, guilt or punishment. Accountability keeps our heart right.
- Intensity – Jesus helped the disciples realize that they were primarily responsible to the creator of life. The notion that the disciples would have to give account of their lives and ministries motivated them to work for eternity rather than for mere human reasons. Accountability keeps the pressure on to do the right things.
- Morale – Jesus allowed the disciples to choose if they wanted to be a part of His great commission. He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) Forcing accountability on people against their will can only lead to disappointment, frustration and more sin. When you’re a part of something you understand is bigger than you, accountability garners higher morale and satisfaction.
- Responsibility – Jesus used accountability for everyone, but he gauged future evaluations on the basis of how much information and responsibility they had been given. Jesus said, “To whom is entrusted much, much is required.” Accountability is the springboard that allows us to grow in the right direction and become more involved in the greater good
- Standards – Jesus loved people enough to help them realize that accountability held them up to God’s unchangeable standards that did not vary with the situational ethics of the world. Right is right and wrong is wrong. God does not waver in His standards and accountability to those standards helps us determine the “should I or shouldn’t I’s.” It keeps us from doing the things we shouldn’t do.
- Competency – Jesus held individuals accountable according to their gifts, talents and level of understanding. This is why Jesus was hard on the Pharisees and the Sadducees who wasted many of their great opportunities to advance His kingdom and His righteousness. God gives us gifts and expects us to use them. Accountability helps us focus on growth and use of those talents.
- Reward – Jesus used accountability to help people realize that the law of sowing and reaping is always working. Colossians 3:23-24 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Accountability encourages more involvement for the good of others and the growth of the Kingdom.
- Commitment – Jesus gave the disciples a sense of ownership by making them accountable for their own area of ministry. When the twelve apostles understood that they were to begin small groups in homes, we read in Acts 2:41-47 that people met daily for prayer, teaching and fellowship. Accountability develops a sense of ownership and control that grows people and involvement.
- Consistency – Jesus only gave disciples responsibilities when He knew that they were ready. He never gave the disciples assignments until He knew that they had proven themselves faithful in small responsibilities. Accountability helps keep us consistent in the activities that we must do regularly and shows when we are ready to take on more tasks or tasks of greater responsibility.
- Celebration – Jesus loved to commend the disciples for successfully carrying out their responsibilities. Everyone likes to be rewarded for a job well done. Jesus was a Master of giving just the right balance of encouragement and direction. Some personality types require more of a hand of supervision, but others are fine left on their own to complete assignments. Accountability helps us with motivation to celebration.
- Inspiration – Jesus inspired confidence in His disciples. When the disciples knew that Jesus had given them responsibility to plant and grow the church, they believed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit would be sufficient for whatever challenge they faced. Jesus inspired them to greatness for the Kingdom. Accountability gives us the tract to run on to inspire us to success in our every day lives.
1 Corinthians 15:58 – “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”