Christian Fellowship 1997-05-14 - Accountability Partners, Part 2

The Small Groups Series, Part 4

The last three devotionals have -- unintentionally on my part -- turned into a series. I started with Four Relationships We Need, then Small Groups, and now Accountability Partners.

Today let's look at what the Bible tells us about choosing an accountability partner.

James 5:16 (NRSV) Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

1 Th 5:11 (NRSV) Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Prov 17:17 (NCV) A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in time of trouble.

First: Two things an accountability partner is not: This person is not a counselor to you, nor are you a counselor to them. A counselor is someone that you ask questions of and seek answers from. An accountability partner is someone that can ask us questions, and we are able to disclose the true answers. See the difference? In a counseling situation, I go to someone and ask questions. In an accountability situation, my partner comes to me and asks me the questions about my life. The partner can ask any question to help keep me on course.

An accountability partner is not a fellowship partner. You don't go to breakfast once a week and talk about the weather or the Chicago Bulls. You have to get beyond the mundane and surface-level conversations. You are allowing someone to see inside of you, to see past the smokescreens that we put up. It means getting past the Sunday morning conversation of "How are things?" and you say "great, nice weather we are having," when actually you are struggling with sin, your kid is flunking in school and your dog has quit speaking to you. : )

Is the picture of an accountability partner becoming clearer? This person must be someone on the same page or close to you spiritually. He or she also needs to be someone trustworthy and discreet. And it needs to be, on balance, an equal partnership. One partner does not dominate the other with their own problems. Now, of course, life challenges are not always equal. Some meetings or conversations with your partner will be one-sided; sometimes we need to just unload our burdens and that is great. But … over the course of the relationship, there is balance and equality in the sharing.

Finally, It just plainly and simply takes a lot of prayer and time to find the ideal accountability partner. As I said last week, the ideal place to find a partner is in your small group. People will tend to gravitate toward each other based on common interests and spiritual maturity.

Next week we will look at what partners hold each other accountable for.

Father, guide us and lead us today. Help us find a partner to hold us accountable. The plan you have laid out for us in Your Word is a perfect plan. Help us to live by your plan for us. Father thank you for Your Son Jesus, Who gives us the perfect example for our lives. In HIS name we pray, Amen.