James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Accountability is an important part of church life that is missing today in many churches. Sadly, most Christians aren’t accountable to anyone. When they struggle with sin they often times don’t know the path of victory and when they need encouragement they have to go looking for someone to help instead of already having someone in place. King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 11:14, “Victory is won through many advisers.” God designed us to grow in community.
For example, when a married man battles with pornography in the church, most of the time he will do so alone. He will not have encouragement or receive the power that is given through praying with other disciples. Every church should have accountability as a normal part of its culture because as James said in today’s passage, confessing our sins to each other brings healing and deliverance.
If every church taught its people to have an accountability partner, hypocrisy would leave and community change would come through transformed lives!
Accountability is nothing new. We expect it in our government, with our police and on our jobs. Any time you ask to speak with a manager you’re practicing accountability because you want the employee to be held to a higher standard. Similarly everyone in society is held accountable to the laws of the land and if they break them they suffer the consequences. Even violating the law and receiving parking tickets, if left unpaid, could result in someone being sent to jail.
Jesus taught accountability in the church because He didn’t want His people going rogue and doing whatever they felt was right. He gave a standard of living based on His commands and He wanted all His disciples to live by them. At the same time, if some people didn’t want to follow His commands, He set up disciplinary procedures to protect the sheep in Matthew 18:15-17.
Today’s local church leadership must take the appropriate actions to insure that their disciples are holy and that the church they oversee is unified in biblical order. Leaders are to even disfellowship and expel people who are unrepentant of their sin so that God’s people can thrive without rebellion in their midst (1 Corinthians 5:1-13). Thankfully, most people will never be in the kinds of situations Jesus and Paul mentioned in regards to “Church Discipline.” However, they serve as good reminders to how serious God takes our obedience.
Here are three ways to stand for accountability in the church; (1) Be in an accountable relationship with someone of the same gender so that you can grow spiritually. Confess your weaknesses, celebrate your victories and pray together. Someone once said, “Those who aren’t accountable to somebody, should be trusted by nobody.” (2) Continually set goals based on what you want to see change in your life. For example, “be patient,” “speak words of encouragement,” “live free from perversion,” “have a great marriage,” etc. (3) Be a person of good character and godly conduct in all that you do. Paul said in Ephesians 5:3, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
Do you have an accountability partner?
- Explain from the Bible why you should stand for accountability. Stephen R. Covey said, “Accountability breeds responsibility.”
- Pray that God will use you to reach out to those who need accountability.
- Resources: “Covenant Discipleship,” by David Watson & “Great Excuses of the Bible,” by Howard Goldthwaite.
One Year Reading Plan
Zechariah 12:1-13:9, Revelation 19:1-21, Psalm 147:1-20, & Proverbs 31:1-7. Click here to read online.