I haven’t always been comfortable with the word “accountability.” It used to make me think of a person with a ledger who was critiquing my performance, recording the good and bad in my life and letting me know how well I was staying on track. Accountability felt impersonal and even burdensome. This, however, is not the kind of accountability God intends for us to have.
We are running a race. Hebrews 12:1-2a says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
This passage explains how we’re surrounded by a spiritual stadium of witnesses looking for champions of the faith like those described in the preceding chapter. As Christ-following Small Group Point People, in order for us to run the race set before us, we need healthy relationships that will help us to do three things:
- Unburden ourselves – None of us are exempt from the sin that entangles and trips us up. It weighs us down, slows us down, and sometimes brings good leaders down. God uses people to bring light into the dark areas sin wants to keep hidden so that we can be whole and have a closer relationship with Him and the people He has placed in our lives.
- Run with perseverance – Running isn’t easy. A good runner trains for the race and is conditioned for it. This enables him to push through the natural resistance one experiences while running and he knows how to replenish himself so that he can endure to the end.
- Keep our eyes on Jesus – Thankfully, the Lord bestows and builds our faith throughout the marathon of life. If we focus on Jesus like a runner fixates on the finish-line, we will find what we need to keep going, overcome obstacles, and join the ranks of other champions of the faith.
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There are things that we cannot do for ourselves in order to competitively run the race marked out for us. Healthy relationships help you to focus on Jesus so that your race is unlimited and uninhibited. Once “accountability” was reframed in the light of healthy relationships, I found myself desiring it, instead of avoiding it.
The fear of being fully known or falling short evaporates when you know that the person “holding you accountable” loves you and believes in you. True accountability helps us to achieve things we couldn’t do alone, but moreover, it helps us grow in our faith and experience more of Christ’s unconditional love for us.
True accountability does not measure against law – it exposes us to the light of God’s grace, and the gifts described above are only the beginning.
These empowering gifts of accountability can all be found in our new Communities of Purpose: Peer-to-peer learning groups made up of small group point people who have either read Steve Gladen’s book “Planning Small Groups with Purpose” or attended an “Accelerate!” small group workshop. Access smallgroupnetwork.com and click the C.O.P. tab to learn more or email me at Reid@smallgroupnetwork.com