Thomas Edison reminds us that, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Sadly, this is an irksome reality of nearly all things worth any real value.
Accountability is an opportunity often missed because of the work it requires. You have to be committed to put in a bit of elbow grease in order to receive the immeasurable rewards. Unfortunately, most people miss the payoff because accountability wears overalls and looks like work. It’s an all-in game.
An effective accountability meeting begins with care and ends with prayer. It is driven by compassion and deep love for God’s church. It desires the perfecting of the saints and relies on the sanctifying power of the Spirit.
Lest you miss your opportunity, here are ten characteristics of effective accountability.
When meeting with others who place their confidence in you, keep things confidential. You love them. You care for their spiritual growth. You are their strong arm, not other people. So keep things confidential. Don’t bullhorn it.
Too much time between meetings strips the potency from accountability. The more time you have apart, the more time you have to “fix” whatever you failed. So meet as much as you can. The more you meet, the greater your power to overcome your weaknesses.
Inconsistent meetings also drain the power out of accountability. Schedule your meetings. Do them twice a week or twice month. Whenever you decide, don’t miss them. Commit to them, plan ahead, and make them happen.
Sometimes you have to meet spontaneously because you need prayer or an extra body to keep you from temptation. Don’t wait for your next scheduled meeting. Your accountability partner exists to help you during those moments of weakness.
One of the worst killers of effective accountability meetings is meeting with no agenda. Plan your meetings. Have discussion points, don’t just wing it. When you aren’t intentional, you can easily waste each other’s time. Get together. Talk over your points. Pray and adjourn. Small talk can be done later.
Another killer to effective accountability is lying. Accountability will never work when you are dishonest. It is meant to be a platform for you to be truthful. You can’t kill sin when it is unidentified. So confess your sin—all of it.
It is easy for us as sinners to be easygoing when it comes to the confession of sin. We feel like we might offend the other person. But truly, sin is no friend of a Christian, so don’t coddle it. Face your sins boldly and kill them.
It is foolish to try and perfect ourselves with our own strength. What began by the Spirit must be completed by the Spirit (Gal. 3:3). So meet with an attitude of surrendering yourself to God’s skillful hand.
Remember to bring yourself under the authority of Scripture. Think and speak what the Bible says about your sin and victory over it. Use God’s Word as your help. Teach, reprove, and correct with it, for it is powerful (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Finally, close every accountability meeting with prayer. All your thoughts and energies should be concentrated together and left at the feet of God. Accountability is work, but God is the One who labors for your perfection (1 Thess. 5:23-24).
Accountability wears overalls and looks like work, but it pays well. Work it because it’s worth it.