Man of Iron
Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another
Accountability in the church can be a difficult part of our Christian walk to put into a box. There is no real ‘formula’ available for working out the best way of how accountability can fit into and around our lives. It’s quite the opposite - it’s about making it an important part of your life.
As Christians we should be striving to make our lives directed and focused around living for God and in line with his scriptures.
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.
What we hear in this verse from James is that confessing our struggles with one another is not a suggestion but a command.
Through personal experience I can confidently say that a lot of the time this isn’t what we want to hear. I think the idea of having to be accountable to anyone is as excruciating as literally being sharpened with iron. Having to completely open up with another person, opening up to the possibility of being judged and opening up to the possibility of somebody actually finding out that you’re not all that you’re acting up to be when you take yourself along to youth group on a Friday night or start being all chatty and sociable after a service at church.
This is a perception of accountability that is becoming increasingly popular through the Church and this is not how it should be viewed. Yes, accountability does involve confessing sins; and as much as we may dislike having to bring ourselves to do it, it certainly helps us to keep on the right path with our faith. But there’s so much more to it than that.
Being accountable with another person or a whole bunch of people isn’t only about sharing the ‘worst’ about us – it’s just as important to share the best that God brings out of us and does for us in our lives. Accountability needs to be encouraging – sharing in joyous praise with your brothers and sisters and not just negative confessing. It may sound a bit wishy washy but losing the joy and excitement that we should have for God’s works is just as easy and dangerous as falling victim to any sin, whether it be lust, jealously or pride.
If there was to be one thing that I would love anybody to absorb whilst reading this article it’s that you should either seek to find that person or group of people to be accountable to or (if you’re already involved with some level of accountability) that you rekindle the commitment to being accountable to those you feel comfortable with. Finding the right person or group to be able to openly confide with can be difficult. We need to see that we’re ‘on a level’ with the person we’re going to open up to and realise that you will actually benefit from it. Sure, it may take meeting up with loads of people to only realise that you don’t think you can be accountable with them, and there’s no shame in that. Yet persevere and you can end up establishing a great relationship that supports the most important relationship you have – between yourself and God.
Once you have that person (or people) to be accountable with you can then push on and sharpen one another. We grow as Christians through gospel-centered conversation with one another – be accountable to someone to make sure this is something you’re doing. But most importantly, remember that it’s not all about you, it’s about God. Give your desire for accountability up to Him and He will provide.
Is accountability important to you?