Summary: What does accountability look like in a group, and why would anyone want to be held accountable?
Two weeks ago we started a new series called Growth Through Groups and we began to take a look at three different areas that we will grow through groups- community, depth, and accountability. We looked at community, and how we need to do life together with other like minded people. People with the same desires as us, because when it comes down to it, community is a group of people with a common unity. There’s something that brings us together—like our love for God, or a desire to make people happy, or a desire to be the best versions of ourselves. We talked about how community is vital to the life of someone who wants to grow. And then we talked about depth, and being mature—essentially knowing what you believe and why you believe it. Cathy, one of our volunteers said something about my talk on depth that made me laugh—she said, “I hope I’m a tree stuck in an iceberg!” I hope I am too—the kind of person that grows deep and wide in what I believe and why I believe it. You need to be the kind of person that craves solid food, and not like the little baby drinking milk.
Tonight, we’re wrapping up this series on growth through groups by talking about one more thing we hope to grow through groups – accountability. This is one of those big, uncomfortable words that makes many of us cringe when we hear it. The truth is that most of us don’t like accountability—it means you have to be responsible for your actions. You have to do what you say you’re going to do. You have to keep your word. There aren’t really any rules to accountability, but it’s a concept; and in the Christian context, there are some assumed rules-more less, guidelines. But we’ll get to that later.
The question is why would anyone want to grow accountability? It really goes back to our goals and resolutions—we say we’re going to do something or be somebody, then we need help sticking to it. We need someone to keep us accountable if we’re going to achieve those goals. When we choose to give our lives to Christ, and become Christian, then we’ve basically decided that we are no longer going to live for ourselves, but we are going to live surrendered lives to God. Living the Christian life is tough, which is why the concept of accountability comes into play. We want to grow depth, and we need accountability to help us achieve that depth. (My Own Accountability for Goals)
There are two types of accountability. Being accountable to God - Romans 14:9-13 says, “ 9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11It is written:
" 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,
'every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.' "[a] 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. “
Paul is telling us that one day we will have to give an account of the things we’ve done to God at the judgment seat of Christ. You’ll stand before God and have to take responsibility for what you did while you were on the earth. The motivation is to live a faithful and righteous life before God because he’s always watching—though, our motivation should not be out of fear—like fear of getting caught. But that you will have to ‘fess up to the things you’ve done. So, that’s our personal accountability—that we are to be responsible for our actions in front of a Holy God.
The Scriptures also tell us that we are to be accountable to each other. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are all members of one body with many parts. Some of us are the eye, others are the hand or the foot, and that all of us should work together to accomplish each goal. 1 Cor. 12:24-26, “But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
So, he goes on to say that we should have equal concern for each other. If the hand stops doing what it’s supposed to, then the eye should notice it, and the other hand should help it out. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he tells them in Ch. 6:1-5, “ 1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.“