As you all know, I am a huge fan, and a believer, in never doing life alone. We all need someone(s) to partner with, especially this side of Heaven, in holding us accountable. But maybe that is where our understanding begins – just what does it mean to have an accountability partner?
Look what Paul wrote the community of believers in the church at Galatia. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the Word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:1-10).
We all have blind spots and weaknesses that can easily go undetected. A true accountability partner (a godly one) is able to help us when our vision is blocked. Such a person is a breath of fresh air, a tool in God’s hand if you will, to help us in our spiritual growth, and they, they truly have our back and our best interest in mind and hand.
Allow me to give you several characteristics that are essential in having such a person in our lives.
The first is the big one – that they are godly – you who live by the Spirit (Galatians 6:1). If they do not love God with all their heart, they cannot and will not love you. The fact is, only a person who walks in the Spirit should be trusted. For only they can offer genuine wisdom – wisdom based on biblical principles and never their own personal opinions.
Second, that they are trustworthy – which for me is the fruit of the first. Trust is built on what they put their trust in. Thus, no matter what you share with them, and what they share with you, you can be confident that they will keep it in the strictest confidence, and give you trusted advice.
Third, and for me, this too is a big one – that they are accepting. They truly want you to be the ‘you’ God has purposed and planned. They will never try to reshape you into their want, but guide you in discovering His will.
Fourth, that they are courageous. What I mean with this one is that a godly accountability partner will always shoot straight with you, but never shoot at you. They will lovingly confront you with truth, even when it hurts (Ephesians 4:15).
Fifth, that they will edify and encourage you – you can count on it. They are someone you love to run to because they will always have something good to say about you. We all need edifying and encouragement – and a godly accountability partner gets that. The Bible tells us that true love always edifies (Ephesians 4:29).
Do not attempt to do life alone, but make sure that those you do life with love God with all their heart, soul, and mind – for if they do – they will love you the same.