February 03, 2016

Accountability Part 1

This Sunday in our corporate worship, we focused on the fact that we are all accountable to God - ultimately and individually (Isaiah 45:22-25).  The issue with accountability however is that we have heard the term applied so often to all kinds of behavior that it may be difficult to recognize true Biblical accountability.  So what does the Bible have to say about accountability?

We looked at four texts:

Matthew 18: 21-35  What we learn about accountability to God from this parable is that God uses accountability in our lives to keep us focused.

It's easy to forget that we live by the same grace and stand in the same righteousness as everyone else in the Body of Christ.  It's not our righteousness.  It's not our wisdom.  It's not our self-discipline and earned grace.  It's all God.  Our use of accountability in response to others should first be governed by our focus on His sufficient provision.  The first purpose for accountability then to look at is focus.  We use accountability to help others stay focused on God's purposes.

Matthew 21: 33-44  What we learn about accountability to God from this parable is that God uses accountability in our lives to keep us producing fruit for Him. 

It is also easy to get on cruise-control sometimes and forget that the fruit belongs to God.  When we use accountability to help another, we should consider that one of our objectives is to encourage them back to producing fruit from the victory Christ has had in their life.

Matthew 25: 14-30  What we learn about accountability to God from this parable is that God uses accountability in our lives to keep us maturing/growing. 

In this familiar passage it is easy to see that God holds us accountable for the maturity of what He gives us.  It can be easy to receive a gift and rest on benefit of that principle gift.  But God has called us since creation to be stewards that build upon and mature the thing in our stewardship.  This was a purpose in Image Bearing even before the Fall.  So when we bring accountability into someone's life, we should remember to encourage maturity in stewardship and faithfulness.

This isn't exhaustive, but notice that accountability Biblically does not involve behavior modification,  chastisement, or tough love (you won't find Biblical examples of it in a more thorough Bible study either).  That's because God has given us instructions on how to rebuke, instruct, and discipline - and those are not the purposes for accountability.

God's design and purpose for accountability is to empower His people to be more faithful.
Reading Galatians 6, we see the design laid out in detail and it doesn't involve those three negatives above.  Instead it sets forth, love, gentleness, focus on God's purposes, and encouragement as the parameters of use.

When used appropriately, accountability should build trust in God for what He has reveled plainly and encourage dependance in Him for what is not so plainly revealed.  Either way, we are growing together in Christ in gentle and loving ways of encouragement.

With you for His glory,