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Path of Accountability

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

We all are accountable for that which we accomplish and that which we do not. We are accountable to our spouse, to our offspring, to our work, to our community, to our nation, and we all will be held accountable to our Creator. “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) There is no way to avoid being accountable. Not wanting to take the importance away from our human accountability the accountability to God would be the one of the greatest reward or forfeiture. They are all of the greatest concern to us but the judgment of the Righteous God of the universes will have an eternal effect.

Therefore I have learned that in overcoming my greatest difficulty, myself or my flesh over the spirit, I need a lot of help from my friends. Friends have influence upon us either to the good or to the bad. It is important to choose our friends wisely, as we want friends that will lift us and we want to be a friend that lifts. We want and need to have a friend that will hold us to achieving the desire of our heart and reaching the goals of our life. We do not need one who is just along for the short ride but one who shares our interest in the direction of our life. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs, “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) We do not necessarily need a diversity of truth, as there is only one truth, but a diversity of understanding the truth is an inspiring way to capture greater concepts. A different way of seeing the same picture is not a discouragement but an enlightenment of what we already have understood or a breakthrough in a puzzling thought. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

There are a lot of accountability groups around as the competitive society we live in requires the assistance we need from each other. I have never thought of myself as a competitive person, as I have never been involved in sports. For most of my life I was a truck driver and learned to manage meeting time schedules and remaining steady behind the wheel until I reached my destination. Keeping control of the adventure between point A and point B. It was a lonely sort of life which at the time suited me and I rambled to and fro across the fruited plain of America. The Christian life is highly competitive and requires all the life skills that one can learn. We are to go and make disciples, and, we are constantly at odds with a powerful adversary of supernatural strength. It is truth that through our Lord we can do all things He sets before us. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Having an accountability partner is not a weakness but a much needed strength in our daily walk.

An accountability partner is someone that you can spend time with on a regular bases, say once a week, to share life with and to grow spiritually with together. We each face our own spiritual battles as we walk along this road of life in the world and the adversary is always trying to take us down in the struggles we face. Our power to resist the evil and promote the righteous is enhanced when we have someone who stands with us in encouragement. It is also self-encouraging when we encourage another. And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) When you have the accountability of a partner the critique is a benefit to you whether it be an accolade or a reproof. It helps you to maintain the right course, helps you to find your true north each day, and keeps you from turning to the left or right but eyes fixed upon Jesus. It is the valuable resource of a friend who is truly committed to your spiritual welfare. “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2)

When seeking the right accountability partner we want to be sure we are equally yoked. I am not talking about being on the same spiritual level as much as having the same like mindedness with our Lord and Savior. All of us are at different levels in our walk, all of us have our own unique understanding, and none of us have the full wisdom to judge one another correctly. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (Luke 6:37) I have worked hard to have a genuine love for everyone but I do not believe I will ever like everyone. Not all personalities are going to mesh perfectly.

We must remember that we are looking for accountability partners not trying to evangelize. We are looking for someone who believes and has a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. We cannot aid in growing each other spiritually if one of us is grounded in the flesh and living for the world. I do not like to exclude anyone but the goal of finding someone to edify needs to be one who is on the same playing field. I need a partner to help me in my walk not one who wants to run in a broader path. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

As a Christian we are to pray without ceasing as we go through our life. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) We are to acknowledge God in all our ways. (Proverbs 3:6) This is a flaw of mine as I am an “I got this” kind of creature. A flaw that I grieve over quite often. One thing we all are steadfast about is that at one time, if not more, during the day we humble ourselves down and give the Lord our full devotion and worship. It is a commitment that I will not fail in doing. It is a covenant that I have between my Lord and myself. I also have this commitment with my accountability partner.

Once a week we are going to meet and check up on each other. We are going to talk about the experiences of the past week, the present moment, and the future week. It is a time to listen and it is a time to talk. It is a time to be lifted and to lift. Humans are creatures of habit. If you develop the habit then you do not feel right if you miss the mark. I have also learned that if you do miss the mark, fail the habit, the commitment suffers and could be weakened or worse, dismissed. Some may think this gives them free time but the truth is a broken trust is never fully repaired. Being an accountability partner is a do or die covenant between two people and is every bit as important as worshipping the Lord. The greater price is the loss of intimate fellowship, the loss of connection, the loss of spiritual growth, a harder row to hoe, and the defenselessness of a true prayer partner. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)

That is the most valuable measure of an accountability partner, are the prayers of a loyal concerned friend. There are many things that people can do for one another but the greatest is when one gets down on his knees and prays for another. It is the power of God requested by a righteous friend to be directed to you. You cannot buy it and your life has is less value without it, we all need the self-less prayers of a friend. I see on social media everyday people asking for prayers and I sincerely hope that they receive them on their behalf. But in my cynical mind I can’t help but think people say they will but never do. You can’t help but know who the prayer warriors are because you can see the results. The prayers of your accountability partner is the best sacrifice that they can make for you in that they pray that the will of God will pour His grace upon you. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

We would not walk in the dark without light, neither should we walk in the light without the comfort of accountability. We shall not stand before God the Father without our advocate the Lord Jesus Christ. Neither should we stand in the wiles of the adversary without our partner to keep us on the straight and narrow path to the Kingdom of our Lord. “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 21, 2015

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