5 Things to Look for in an Accountability Partner

by Jacob Abshire on September 8, 2014

Metal detectors have a keen sense of finding nearby metallic alloys. They can sniff out hidden gems slightly beyond the earth’s surface. With any luck, you can find something of value just waiting to be discovered.

When it comes to Christian accountability partners, we could use a good detector. Finding one is not always an easy task. It’s like the little boy in the backyard with a metal detector seeking hidden treasure. It happens, but not often.

Most accountability partners are found in existing relationships. Our close friends or relatives can easily become strong candidates. On the other hand, we may not have ideal partners in our immediate circle up for the challenge. It can be useful, at times, to seek the help of a church leader.

Whatever the case, the strength of your accountability partner is an important element in the strength of your accountability work. Here are five things that should sound the indicator in your Christian accountability detector.

Someone Who is Serious About Salvation

You might not need it, but here is a reminder—look among the saved folk. You won’t find much accountability in a person unregenerated by God. They love sin and have no power to resist it—nor the desire (Jn. 3:19; 8:34). Your search for an accountability partner should begin in the church.

Even more, you should find someone who is serious about salvation. Those who “play church,” as they say, are serious about the world and its ways, not God’s (Matt. 7:21). Look for someone who makes their Christian walk the highest priority. They will cherish grace, not walk all over it.

Someone Who is Serious About Sin

When searching for someone who is serious about salvation, you might recognize it in someone who is serious about sin. John Owen’s famous quote, “be killing sin or it will be killing you,” rings true of a good accountability partner.

Sin is a Christian’s enemy and accountability is a Christian’s weapon. With accountability and God’s grace, we make war on sin until it is finally defeated and we are home in heaven. Look for someone who wages the good fight.

Someone Who is Serious About Sanctification

The outcome of being serious about salvation and sin might be codified in seriousness about sanctification. The genuine believer who genuinely fights sin will ultimately and actually be sanctified practically. (That’s a mouthful!)

One who is earnest about obedience to God will be putting off sin already. It will be evidenced in their resolution to be holy as God is holy (1 Pet. 1:16). They will desire to be more like Christ. They will be set apart and eager to lend the help to others who desire the same.

Someone Who is Serious About Safekeeping

Since accountability requires confession of sin, particularly the deepest kind, confidentiality is needed. One who turns your weaknesses into talking points at their next night-out is not someone who is safekeeping.

Look for one who is trustworthy of personal details. Not because you want to keep secrets, but because you need to keep safe (Prov. 11:13). God grants forgiveness when we grant full disclosure (1 Jn. 1:9), but disclose it with wisdom. Find someone safe.

Someone Who is Serious About Supporting

Finally, a good accountability partner will hold you up with care and in prayer. Look for someone who will challenge and confront you, and who will stand with you when you are weak.

Effective accountability requires a commitment to be supportive. We are to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). He or she must be someone who will hold you up and carry you across to holiness. They will do this in practical and prayerful ways.

In closing, it might go without saying that it is best that men find men and women find women accountability partners. This way, there is a deeper, more relatable understanding. Accountability is a connection at a deep level, so crossing the gender line will lead to other sins. Spousal accountability, however, is one good exception.

When looking for an accountability partner, look for someone who is serious about salvation, sin, sanctification, safekeeping, and supporting. These characteristics should sound the Christian accountability detector.

Download My Brother’s Keeper: An Essential Guide to Christian Accountability and form habits of grace that make you more like Christ.

Also available for purchase at Amazon and select stores.

A New Discipleship Resource

Creative Content for Christian Men

Instead of comments, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. If you want to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here.