The importance of accountability!

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If I asked you to think about the closest women in your life, whom you hold dear to your heart, who would pop up in your mind?

Are they a group of women or is it one specific woman? Can you be completely transparent with them about yourself? Can you turn to them for Godly advice, counsel and encouragement? If so, consider yourself blessed and hold onto those friendships. If you can’t think of someone, then I truly urge you to consider seeking someone to be that woman in your life- to have as an accountability partner!

 

accountabilityThe sad reality is that many Christian women don’t have a group of women they are close with, and most don’t have even one Christian woman whom she can be accountable with. Life was not meant to be lived alone, God gives you people to lean on, so that you can build one another up. The bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that two is better than one, especially if one falls down, the other can lift them up. The partnership should encourage one another to pursue Christ. In fact, having an accountability partner is vital to the growth of a Christian. We are not only to be accountable to God- who knows us better than ourselves, but He gives us people that we can be accountable with so that we can open up our lives to them without hiding our imperfections. He requires that we have authentic relationships so that we can carry one another’s burdens, as it states in Galatians 6:2, and being free of the masks we often put on.

I’ve noticed that our society promotes such an individualistic lifestyle. Although we were created as unique individuals, the problem lies when people start thinking that being accountable to yourself and doing whatever you think is right in your own eyes, overrides accountability to God and those He has placed in your life. Some people don’t want anyone to know their “business” and to know what they are really doing, because they feel they should be free to live in whatever way they please.
Some people get so scared when they hear the term accountability because they think of rules, legalism, judgemental mentalities and invasion of privacy. But the reality is that accountability is more about your spiritual well being and getting closer to God through the help of others.
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Most people are not ready to open up about their weaknesses/shortcomings or admit them, for fear of being judged. They would rather make it seem like everything is perfectly fine with them and that they have it all together, when in reality they are desperate for help and falling apart. Yes-even strong Christians go through this. An accountability partner should not be someone who would judge you, they should be someone who is  trustworthy, relatable, can encourage you, correct you in love, and someone who is spiritually mature. You should have all those qualities as well, so that your partner can lean on you too!
You cannot expect someone who is a young Christian to give sound Godly advice to a mother  who has been a Christian for many years. They are both in two totally different seasons and it would be a one sided accountability partnership.  (However, one sided accountability is still required in some cases, because leaders are to be there for those they are leading). But in terms of a close friendship that is considered beneficial for the growth of both partners, this type of accountability is not that!

Accountability partners should be able to relate to one another, and openly talk to each other…more than just about the typical things like shopping, fashion, makeup, guys, etc. You should be driven to pray for one another, counsel one another, speak the truth, encourage one another and carry each others burdens etc . When your accountability partner has examined their own hearts and is speaking to you about the truth in love, it comes from a good place and it is not considered judgemental. If she sees that you are wandering off the course Christ has set before you, she should be able to tell you or correct you without feeling like she is going to be labelled as being judged. She would only want what’s best for you and your spiritual growth in Christ. However, being accountability partners does not mean it is a place for you to vent, complain or for you to gossip to your partner about others. It’s a place where you can seek counsel on the things you need to work on in order to grow closer to God, so that you can fulfil the call of God on your life. You should be speaking life over each other and spurring each other on to be the person God has designed you to be. This type of accountability also brings healing in your life, and transformation by the renewing of your mind because Christ will be at the centre. Which brings me to my next point, you both should not be struggling with the same sins/weaknesses. For example: If you both are struggling with an addiction to porn, you are not considered suitable accountability partners. Your partner should not be encouraging inappropriate behaviours in your life or being tempted by the same things that tempt you and should not be engaging in them with you. Proper discipline and support is needed from accountability partnerships, they should be able to lift you up and vice versa. It is hard to do that if you have both fallen.

Also, for those of you who are married, a spouse is an excellent accountability partner as well, and you should be completely open and honest with each other all the time. But when you need counsel about your own marriage especially, your spouse would not be the right person to go to. You can understand why; the counsel needs to come from an outside source to help you to see things clearly, without bias and still with eternity in mind, instead of fleshly emotions. Which is why it is imperative that your accountability partner is someone that will keep matters you speak about confidential.

Experts also believe that having an accountability partner that is of the opposite gender as you is not beneficial; as men and women are both created differently. Men can relate more to other men, where as women can and should be able to relate more to other women, without feelings getting in the way. Many women feel like its easier to talk to men and open up to them, but most of the time it is because they have been hurt by other women and they have broken her trust. If you are one of those women, I encourage you to ask God to heal you and to help you change your perspective of women and to see them as your allies. No one is fighting against you. This is not a competition and there is no prize. We are all sisters in Christ!

As a woman, I can testify that I would not be where I am today without God, and without the other women in my life- to pray for, encourage, correct, counsel and lift me up.  Having people that are walking in the same season as you or who have walked in that season, is truly something to cherish because their encouragement is rich with experience and truth, and their counsel will be drenched with Godly love. If I did not have these women in my life, I would probably have isolated myself from everything because you can only go so far with your own knowledge and experience. We are there for each other, and we encourage each other without judgement but we do correct one another through Godly love and that’s the beauty of it. We are getting refined and sharpened to be more like Christ in a reciprocated matter;  just as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), it is not one-sided. That’s how all beneficial and spiritually maturing partnerships should be. Some accountability partners are in your life for a season and some will be there for life. When you find those ones for life, don’t let them go; they are a special gift from God.

Accountability partnerships are actually a biblical concept. A perfect example of accountability in the bible was Paul and Barnabas. Paul could go to him for prayer, counsel, guidance and encouragement. Barnabas was someone who can give Paul another viewpoint or perspective. Paul also did the same for Barnabas, and they were both partners in ministry as well!

So, I encourage you beautiful sisters in Christ, seek out those women in your life that you would like to have an accountability partnership with and pray for God to send you one as well! Find those woman who can spur you on to be a better daughter of Christ. They will be those women that will be by your side, helping you stay on course, as you walk into the destiny that Christ has set before you!

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