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Why is it that when we’re accountable to another person, we’re more apt to follow through on a promise or commitment? Why are we more likely to succeed when we share our struggles with another person and then walk through those struggles together than when we try it alone? Why are we less likely to give into temptation when we’re with someone else than when we try it solo?

I don’t know about you, but I imagine many are like me in that I don’t want to let the other person down. Years ago, I spent twelve weeks eating right and working out six days a week with a goal to lose weight and improve my health. I was successful in losing 65 pounds largely in part because I did it with a partner. I woke up early and met him at the gym several times a week. We worked out together more times a week than we did alone, so I knew he would be able to see if I’d been faithful to stick to the plan on my own when we couldn’t get together for a few days. I knew he would be at the gym at 5:00 am, and I wasn’t about to give him an opportunity to rib me for making an excuse to not be there on time, ready to go. The desire to not let him down motivated me to follow through on my commitment, even though it required a big sacrifice on my part. And I know from conversations with him that he felt likewise about his commitment to me…he didn’t want to let me down by not being there.

Likewise, when I joined a discipleship group with seven other men, I knew that we would meet once a week to review what we’d learned that week in our personal study time. And I knew that I would be asked questions that required my having completed the daily workbook assignments for the week. I was accountable to the group for committing to them that I want to grow in Christ and having expressed that I’m willing to take the necessary steps to become a true disciple of Christ. I didn’t want to let the group down by not following through on my promise. That desire to not let the group down motivated me to sacrifice daily to meet the objectives of the study. And I know from conversations with them that they felt likewise about their commitment to the group…that it’s easier to make the sacrifice when we know we’re accountable for our actions during the weekly gathering of us all.

I had a conversation once with my accountability partner and good friend and it got me to ask the question…” to whom am I really accountable?” In my head, I know the answer is God. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” I’m accountable to God for how I live this life He’s given me. I’m accountable to Him for whom I share the news of Jesus with. I’m accountable to God for my choices and my actions. I’m accountable to God for fulfilling His command to go out and make disciples…to love Him and love people. (John 13:34-35)

I know this as head knowledge, but have I made it heart knowledge? Am I living this knowledge out? To whom am I really living my life accountable to?

Why do I find it easier to resist temptation and stay the course when I have a human accountability partner than when I don’t? When the alarm went off to wake me for my morning workout alone, why was it easier to hit the snooze button and roll over when I already knew I’d be working out alone because my training partner couldn’t make it due to his work schedule? And when my discipleship group takes a brief break, when the alarm goes off at 4:50 am to wake me for my daily quiet time, why is it easier to roll over and hit the snooze button when I know I’m not immediately accountable to a friend for having spent time with God daily?

Really, when I do that haven’t I just told God “I’M too tired to meet you right now…I’ll make time for you later…around MY schedule…I’ll come to you when I’M ready.”

Why is it easier to make excuses when we I don’t have someone in our my face pushing us me?  Are we Am I really that unbelieving and unfaithful that we I need visual confirmation of that which we I say we I believe?  Isn’t Jesus enough?  Isn’t the thought of letting HIM down enough to motivate us me to resist temptation and get out of bed to meet Him daily?  Do we I really need a human accountability partner when we I have Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  Isn’t Jesus THE ultimate accountability partner?

I pray daily He is…that He continues to grow inside me so much so that my desire to not let HIM down outweighs my desire to not let man down.  Because in the end, you and I are not standing before man to be judged.  We’re standing before a God that is holy.  Righteous.  Just.  Faithful.  A God that knows no sin.  THE God whose Son took our place in death so that we may see life.  And when He stands to defend me, I want to know Him so well that I can say You!! You, Lord Jesus, are my accountability partner, and I claim You as my Lord and Savior.”

I pray this for you too…is He your accountability partner?

P.S. After reading this again, it seems that I’ve asked more questions here than provided answers.  I think maybe that’s okay…because I’m okay accepting the reality that I don’t have all the answers.  However, this, I can say with certainty.  Don’t mistake making Jesus your ultimate accountability partner with forsaking your finding of an accountability partner here in this life.  While we are accountable to God first and foremost and long to live a life that reflects that, we need people…other believers…in our life to challenge us to be better. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”Ecclesiastes 4:12

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So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

Acts 24:16 (ESV)

On a business trip to Kansas City, Missouri, if my memory serves me right.  And that meant that my brother and I, along with my sisters, were left alone at the house for the time they were away.  So, again, if I remember correctly, my brother and I started throwing the football around...inside the house...probably...well, not wasn’t a good idea.  It wasn’t long before we started throwing the football around in the den of us would throw the ball to the other who would run from the dining area into the den and as the approach to the couch was made, leave solid ground and leap through the air onto the couch while catching the ball...just like the football players did on Saturday afternoon as they made circus catches during the college game of the week.  Boy, it was really fun.  I mean running as fast as you could, jumping outstretched, parallel to the ground, making the catch, and then  hurling into the was good! wasn’t so good.  One of us,  I’m pretty sure it was me, let a pass go, while brother was in full stride, and missed brother...and the couch...and plastered the old German clock...with that two foot glass front  that enabled you to see the inside workings of the clock,  that hung on the wall.  My dad had started to make, put together, and repair old wall clocks and sell them as a hobby.  Well, the glass in the clock shattered as well as my good time for the day as the clock fell from the wall onto the carpeted floor.  What was I going to do?  I guess moving to Alaska was out, but it did cross my mind.  I was going to really be in...big trouble...not little trouble...big trouble.

 I bet my mom and dad were going to talk to me for two or three hours about their disappointment in me, being the oldest child in the house.  And if there was one thing that really got to was those long talks.  Look, penalize me...punish me...discipline me...take stuff away...just don’t give me one of those three-hour talks...those were worse than punishment...but that’s what was coming.

So I thought and I thought and I thought and I came up with a plan.  There was a man who worked at the same place my dad worked...I think his name was McClure...or McClung...anyway, he was a great guy that was in charge of the financial loan office of the business, and I knew he would help me if he could.  And he did...he purchased a pane of glass, made the correct measurements, cut the glass...and installed it in the clock.  I assured him I would pay him for the glass in good time.  Good as one could tell...I was...we the clear.

Well...there was one started out as a mere whisper in my mind...but it wasn’t long before it began to take over every waking moment of my thought life as I waited for mom and dad to return from Kansas City.

My conscience...yes, I was already a Christian...and the Holy Spirit was beginning to bring that burden of wrongdoing into every waking moment.  I knew what I was supposed to do...Confess my sin to God and ask for forgiveness...and seek forgiveness from the ones that I had parents.  I was going to have to be specific and tell them exactly what I was sorry for and ask them if they would forgive me.

I mean, after all, I didn’t want my prayer life to be totally ruined and ineffective.  I knew what the Bible said, for we had just studied in Sunday school about how frequently Paul mentioned the pursuit of a clear conscience.

“having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”

Acts 24:15-16 (ESV)

 On top of that, I knew the Bible taught the importance of having the ability to say that there’s no one that I know of that I have knowingly wronged, offended, or hurt in any way, that I have not gone back to and attempted to make things right with God and with them.

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)

I could hardly wait for my parents to get home and as soon as they did I blurted out what I had done.  My conscience needed clearing and my heart needed cleansing...and thank the Lord both occurred.

Restitution to Mr. McClung was necessary...but I had successfully made the wrong...right...and my conscience was clear.  I could sleep at night...and my prayers could mean something again.  Thank the good Lord and my parents for providing a way for my mind and heart to be clear by forgiving me for what I had done.  It even made the two-hour talk...which I did receive...not so bad at all.

How’s your prayer life...seem ineffective...without power...just like you’re going through the motions?

Let me ask; is there anyone alive that you have knowingly wronged, offended, or hurt in any way, that you have not gone back to and attempted to make things right with them and with God?

Try Acts 24:16, “ So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”
Acts 24:16 (ESV)

What would it take for you to get to the place of a clear conscience?  Promises made to children that haven’t been kept,  items stolen from employers, hurtful words said to a spouse or children, slander against a fellow brother or sister in Christ, cheating, dishonesty, lies...

Just do what I did...and do.  Confess your sin to God and repent.  Seek forgiveness from those that you’ve wronged.  Make restitution if necessary and possible.  Seek to restore the relationship.  And do it now!  Being obedient to the Lord is not always convenient...but it’s always freeing...and that freedom... a clear worth it all.

Oh yeah... another lesson to pass on (no pun intended) don’t throw a football in the house!

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18 (ESV)

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 0 Comments

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