In the workplace, in our churches, and in the government, we expect accountability. And yet in our personal lives, accountability often strikes us as a negative thing.
That’s natural, I guess. Even in the Christian life, we expect others to do what’s right, but we often give ourselves a hall pass because our motives are good. Yet in holding this double standard, we can miss a huge benefit of growing in the Christian life.
In a previous post, I shared 3 benefits to having an accountability group. Committing to a group who will ask accountability questions really is nothing more than asking others to encourage you in the essential areas where you want to succeed in the Christian life. More than anything, accountability questions help you to be who you really want to be.
Here are the 10 accountability questions my group asks each week as well as a link for you to download the list.
For the past 10 years, I have met weekly with 8 other Christian men in our neighborhood for Bible Study, prayer, and accountability.
(Photo: My group)
I recently commented on Michael Hyatt’s blog about the accountability questions our groups asks each week, and he encouraged me to blog about it. Honestly, I had never thought about that, but it makes total sense.
Too often, accountability takes on a negative slant as we picture ourselves surrounded by pointing fingers and a spotlight of condemnation.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I want to share with you 3 benefits to having an accountability group that can help you in our Christian life.
In King David’s day, the city of Jerusalem stood as a renovation and expansion of Jebus, a site the Hebrews never occupied in the territory of Benjamin.
Those who come to Jerusalem today for the first time are often surprised to learn that the original Jerusalem, “The City of David,” sat on a mere ten acres just south of the Temple Mount. Hardly impressive, it looks like some third-world neighborhood.
Steep slopes surround the City of David and gave it in a strategic advantage during any military threat. So much so, the inhabitants of Jebus felt confident “David cannot enter here” (2 Samuel 5:6). But he did, and David made the site his new capital.
The steep slopes became King David’s military strength.
But the slopes also played into his moral weakness. Here’s how.
A couple of months ago I noticed the “maintenance” light come on in my car. That meant the oil and filter needed changing. I thought, Yeah, I’ll do that soon. Right.
About a month went by and I thought: You know, I need to deal with that. I forgot again. It wasn’t until a couple weeks later I finally got it changed. I put it off because I’m a busy guy—and hey, oil and filters can always wait another day.
But then another warning light went off. This one was serious.
We all need people to influence us. God made us that way. From the languages we speak to the character we develop—it all begins with those who surround us in our formative years.
It starts with our environment, but it shouldn’t end there. It cannot.
When it does, it’s tragic. That was the case with King Joash.
But it doesn’t have to be that way with us.
We don’t like accountability. Oh, we like the idea of accountability. For governing officials. For pastors and priests. For bankers and doctors. But personally? Uh, no thanks. We prefer anonymity.
(We prefer anonymity.)
From the pages of Scripture, an unlikely prophet named Amos helps us learn why our refusal to accept personal accountability is more than simply wrong or foolhardy.
Without accountability to God, we will never become all we want to be.
In a previous post, I wrote about a Christian’s struggle with sin and 4 lies we believe about our sin. Let’s take it a step further.
In addition to taking a defensive mindset against the lies we often believe, we need to take an active approach to sin and temptation.
Here are 4 basic strategies to help you battle the tug of temptation and sin on your heart.
Everybody sins. But when we Christians do it, reactions vary. The world points to us as hypocrites—and often uses our sins as justification for their own. Other Christians tend to view our sins as reasons to suggest we aren’t even saved.
(Photo by Bigroger27509. Own work. CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
But the people who offer the most brutal judgment against our sins?
Very often, it’s ourselves.
That’s because Christians struggling with sin tend to believe four lies.
Early one morning I hopped in my car and inserted the key in the ignition. When I cranked it—I kid you not—the car made the sound: “Ugh.”
So I figured it was just the weather, and I pulled out the jumper cables. But two days later, the car sang the second verse of the same song: “Ugghhh.”
(Photo: by Monkey Business Images via Vivozoom )
Later that day, my auto mechanic gave a simple diagnosis: I needed a new battery.
Now, I could have said: “Hey, you know, a car starting every other day isn’t so bad. It sure beats walking. I guess I don’t need a battery.”
Guess again. I bought a battery—a big one. If my vehicle runs inconsistently, it’s of little value to me. At the same time, keeping the car running reliably comes down to one thing: it costs me.
The same is true of our spiritual lives.
The trouble with most of us,” someone once said, “is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” That’s really true. Go ahead, ruin me.
The truth is, we can work ruin by either extreme:
- Give nothing but compliments.
- Offer only criticism.
Words that compliment and words of criticism both strike like arrows, and they seldom miss their mark.
But the huge difference between them can be surprising.