We have talked a lot about accountability (see links below) and how it can help you become who you want to be. A better spouse. A better person. A better you! But like all good things, if you aren’t careful it can turn into a burden, a checklist, or a rut. A few months ago, I hit the check list roadblock.
It started slowly. I was late giving my report one time. Another time I hurried and banged it out in 4 minutes. I slowly started just answering the bullet points instead of sharing my heart. Then unfortunately I allowed my complacency to affect the way I responded to my partner’s accountability. My responses became shorter and shorter. My words of encouragement were few and far between.
Thankfully I have a wonderful friend, who kindly asked how I thought things were going. She asked me if I felt like the accountability was meeting my needs and if not, what she could do better. She also gave me the option to stop for now if I needed to. She could have said, “You are stinking at this accountability thing, and you are not helping you or me!” She would have been justified in doing so, but instead she chose the loving and grace-filled route.
I realized that I had forgotten the purpose of the accountability. I let Satan trick my mind into thinking it was yet one more thing that I had to check off my list. I forgot that the two main reasons you do accountability are to renew your mind and to love God and others better.
A Renewed Mind
One point of accountability is to change the way you think. It helps you change your perspective on life, your situation, or other people. It trains you to look at life with God’s perspective, not your own. It is decreasing the importance of you and increasing the importance of others in your life. It is changing the way you live to be more like Christ.
This can be done when you honestly answer your accountability questions. When you share your feelings, emotions and struggles. When you put words to your situation, you can begin to see it more clearly. See it for what it is. You allow another person to prayerfully seek answers to your questions. An accountability partner can gently point out the errors of your way of thinking and encourage you to dig deeper in your relationship with God and seek out the truth. A trusted friend can remind you of the truths that you have discovered in the past and not allow you to revert back to your previous way of thinking. She can be there to celebrate your mental victories and applaud your correct decisions.
Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Philippians 4:8-9 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Ephesians 4:21-24 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
A Loving Heart
The second point of accountability it to change the way that you love God and others. When we love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength we are changed from the inside out. We become more like Him. We listen better. We serve better. Life is more fulfilling. We begin to see others through God’s eyes. We become natural lovers instead of dutiful ones.
Accountability questions geared towards our connections with God and family can help us learn and grow in our love. We can encourage each other to spend time in the Word and in prayer. We can learn from each other as we share the truths we are gaining in our time with the Lord. We can encourage each other when our children seem impossible to love or when our zeal for our spouse starts to dwindle. We can remind each other of the purpose behind parenting and serving our spouses. When we get stuck in a rut, our accountability partner can help us come up with new and creative ideas.
Mark 12:29-31 (NLT) Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Romans 12:9-13 (NLT) Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Throw out the check lists and burdensome tasks!
The point of accountability isn’t to make us DO more or DO less. It is about renewing our minds and changing our hearts so that we can become more like Christ. So we can confidently walk in His will for our lives and be a blessing to those around us. It isn’t about you, but about Who is in you. Stay focused on growing more and more like Him, and you will reap the benefits of a happy, joyful, blessed and fulfilling life.