For some of us, the thought of accountability seems more like something that scares us, like a coach or teammate whose only job appears to point out where we get things wrong. Our fears and inadequacies make us believe it would be easier to walk the Christian life alone instead of pursuing relationships with other believers.
But accountability can actually be a life-giving part of relationships, especially when we experience it the way God calls us to in His Word. If God is our coach, He gets to set the standard for our lives and how we care for one another.
In the book of Philippians, Paul writes to the church and says, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies.” (Philippians 1:27-28)
The best accountability relationships don’t lower the standard Jesus called us to but rather heightens it as they listen with us, pray for us and seek God for wisdom.
Paul calls them to the highest standard—living a life worthy of what Jesus did for them—but says they will reach this standard by God’s grace as they strive side by side together, fighting for their faith while fearlessly telling the world of Jesus’ way to salvation.
Like a team committed to one another, Paul prays the church is standing together as one. Accountability isn’t about pointing fingers but linking arms. It’s only the Spirit of God who can change our hearts, but He works within us as we stand together to know God and trust Him. So, what do we do as a team to stand firm and experience the higher calling Jesus points us to?
God calls us to practices like prayer, studying His Word, regularly attending church and fellowship to grow our faith. But the end goal of these practices isn’t just to change what we do – God uses them to change who we are. Good accountability relationships help us grow in these spiritual disciplines, but they aren’t satisfied with behavior changes. While they celebrate when God develops habits in our lives that honor Him, they ultimately want God to transform our hearts. They want our motives and character to be like Jesus’s.
Paul also references our enemies, pointing out that there is a very real opponent who doesn’t want us to trust God or one another. This enemy and our old selves tempt us to isolate, decide for ourselves what is good and right, and ultimately lower our standard of living.
We need one another for these moments, when our faith feels weak and we want to go our own way. The best accountability relationships don’t lower the standard Jesus called us to but rather heightens it as they listen with us, pray for us and seek God for wisdom. They mourn with us when we are broken, and they help us see where our sin or pain is keeping us from believing God’s Word (James 5:16). They encourage us to depend on God’s Spirit and His strength, not our own (Colossians 2:6-9).
Jesus makes it possible for us to have new life and a new experience in relationship with one another. Like a team pressing on toward the ultimate goal, we get to link arms, trust God and fight to live a life worthy of the Gospel. There is no better way and there is no other way.
One way to get in God’s Word is to have it delivered straight to your inbox with FCA’s Daily Impact Play, a lineup of devotionals by coaches, athletes, staff and volunteers that share how to live out God’s Word in our lives.
Want to learn more about accountability and getting into God’s Word? Head to FCA in Action and read our March Pursue articles:
Anchor Article: Accountable: Reach for Truth
Article Two: The Straight Path: Accountability Keeps Us Grounded
Article Three: Mentorship: Accountability Inspires
*If you read this article and aren’t sure how to find community, we invite you to look for an FCA Huddle, either in person or online.
About the Author:
Makena Schroder serves as the Ministry Advancement Coordinator for FCA in the Pacific Northwest Region, supporting staff with ministry training and resources. She attended Texas Christian University and competed in track and field where she discovered a love for knowing God through study of His Word. Makena's greatest joys include time with family (check her Instagram for regular hilarious videos), good food, and time outdoors.
Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org and get involved with her ministry and support Pacific Northwest FCA HERE.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash