6 Ways to Kill Christian Accountability

by Jacob Abshire on October 7, 2014

I heard, “You shouldn’t kill a good thing—even if it feels bad.”

Christian accountability is a good thing, and it feels bad at times. It’s the kind of bad that’s good. And you shouldn’t kill it—but it happens. Accountability relationships don’t always turn out as they were intended. I know this first hand.

Below are six reasons why good accountability dies. Each is a failed attempt at what you should do to cultivate solid Christian accountability. It’s what happens when your sin wins. It kills a good thing. (Before we start, this is dripping with sarcasm. Be warned.)

Lie about your sins.

No one likes to be judged. What you do with your private time is your business, period. So next time you engage your accountability partner, just lie about your sins. It will save you the embarrassment. And, with any luck, it will soon ruin your accountability relationship.

Effective Christian accountability requires confession—saying the same thing God says about your sin. When you sin, let your accountability partner know. Bringing sin to the open will strengthen your fight against it and encourage your partner to help you.

Keep rescheduling your meetings.

Nothing says, “This is not important to me,” like constantly rescheduling your accountability meetings. Have one tonight? Go with your gut. It’s saying you’re tired and have a long day tomorrow. Other things and people need you more. It’s telling you that accountability is a waste of time, and you’re just going to fail again. So reschedule. You’ll feel better.

Christian accountability depends on consistent meetings. The more time you put between you and your partner allows your sin to live longer before you both strike it dead. Time doesn’t heal in these situations. It kills.

Waste accountability meetings on trivial talk.

Wasn’t that football game something? Wasn’t that movie superb? Wasn’t that sale to die for? Wasn’t that … insert whatever is on your mind … except accountability. One sure way to throw a death blow to your accountability relationship is to dodge deep talk. Table sin and godliness. Table truth and Scripture. Table personal weaknesses and chat it up about trivial things. It’s a sure kill.

Accountability requires you to share at the deepest levels—your spiritual wellness and fleshly desires. It means you have to speak according to God’s Word and therefore talk openly about it. Table the small talk. Accountability won’t work until you both get to the grit and get serious.

Be unavailable.

Next time your accountability partner calls, don’t answer. In fact, ignore the voice mail. That call will only involve your energy and require you to put your good friend above yourself. Killing your accountability relationship is easy when you are unavailable. How can you be held accountable by someone who can’t even reach you? Yea, that’s the way to do it.

Love is best expressed by sacrifice. And often, time is the biggest sacrifice and the greatest way to show your accountability partner that you truly care. Allowing your partner to interrupt your day and then changing your plans to be there for them makes an accountability relationship even stronger.

Never wage war on your sin.

You know what? Waging war on sin is a lot of work, and you never get time to just let it all out and do what makes you—uh, your flesh—happy. And really, you’ve been good. God won’t mind if you dip back into the old nature every now and then. Even soldiers have their time of rest. So set the wartime aside and enjoy your sin. It will be the death of your accountability.

Being serious about your war on sin is key. It is, afterall, the reason for accountability. If you’re not committed to attacking your inner sin, you’re wasting your time with another accountability partner. Be resolute in your warfare.

Neglect spiritual disciplines.

Speaking of work, nothing is more tiring than regularly denying yourself sleep, food, entertainment, drinks, and—fill in the blank. Spiritual disciplines mean you have to set all that good stuff aside. Besides, doesn’t such denial make you grumpy? You don’t need accountability at the risk of enjoying life. Neglect your spiritual disciplines and put an end to your accountability.

Weak Christians cannot fight the war on sin. Spiritual disciplines make you stronger, and you need them. You need time to read and memorize Scripture, pray, attend worship, and have daily quiet times. In these moments, the Spirit of God weakens your flesh and strengthens your soul.

Accountability depends on sincere confession, regular meetings, intentional conversations, sacrificial availability, godly fighting, and spiritual discipline. To lack in one of these will hinder your accountability. To fail in some of these will cripple your accountability. To stop in most of these will assure the destruction of your accountability and might lead to spiritual drifting. Be on your guard.

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

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