“Hi how are you? We haven’t seen you at Church lately are things going okay?”
“Hi my friend, I really got a sense that I should call you, do you have some time to chat?”
“Okay everyone lets go round the group and share any highs or lows you’ve had during the week. How is your walk with the Lord going?”
“Hey man, how’s that temper? I’ve been praying for you.”
I’m sure that, in our Christian journey, we have had similar questions asked of us or have asked the same kind of questions of others. There is a name for this kind of thing, accountability. Those of you who remember their days of being part of the youth group might recall the concept of an accountability partner. The idea of accountability is rooted in the Biblical concept of confession and, ultimately, love.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” (James 5:16)
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:1-2)
The wisdom book of Ecclesiastes insightfully recognises the benefit of having another come alongside us to support one another:
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Many of us know the value of having someone holding us accountable in our daily walk and spiritual lives. Someone who can lovingly challenge us on our areas of sin, who can support us in times of struggle and who can motivate us to grow in Christlikeness. And it need not be one person, it could be a group of friends, a fellowship group, or fellow church members fulfilling this role to various degrees.
The reason for me bringing up the topic of accountability is to remind of its importance especially now as many of us are isolated from each other during the lockdown. No one will know if you’re not at Church on Sunday, or reading your Bible, or praying regularly. Both the stress and boredom of the lockdown can result in us turning back to and engaging in bad or sinful habits. It is therefore vital to establish some sort of accountability, even if you just have a prayer partner who you can contact or message if you are struggling. Heed the warning of Ecclesiastes 4:10 for those trying to go it alone: “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Be proactive and reach out to someone, don’t wait for someone to come to you. We cannot afford to leave it to later. Let us fulfill the law of Christ, that of loving God and one another, by carrying one another’s burdens.
If you do not have someone you could reach out to for accountability please contact one of the pastors or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you find a prayer partner to come alongside you during this time.
If you would like to volunteer to be available as a prayer partner we’d love to hear from you too.