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
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
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