Developing a biblical accountability relationship with a trusted advisor is a powerful tool in every believer’s spiritual walk.
It’s one thing to make a commitment and to really mean it. It’s quite another thing to keep it sustained over a significant period of time.
But as you build on your commitments and they begin to shape your life, you’re building your life’s legacy.
Open the Scriptures and you’ll see many people who started strong but didn’t finish well. Specifically, look at the myriad of Kings of Israel — only a few ended well. Likewise, look around and you’ll find examples of efforts that began strong but failed:
The solution is biblical accountability.
This kind of intentional relationship includes enlisting the support of those who love you, with the sole purpose of helping you keep your commitments to a sovereign God.
Unlike “accountability partners” of years past, which were very impactful for many but difficult for others, this is not a relationship based on harassment and strong-arming. It’s a partnership built on an agreement to be honest about what’s below the surface.
This kind of relationship invites someone into your life to help you keep YOUR commitment to God. No outside person or source is mandating specific behaviors; you’re working towards a legacy of strong faith, and your biblical accountability relationship will be a powerful partner.
To quickly navigate to the 5 verses, use the links below.
- We never outgrow the need for PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY.
- Past successes are no guarantee of FUTURE FAITHFULNESS.
- We constantly underestimate the power of our own SINFUL PASSIONS.
- We constantly overestimate our ability to handle TEMPTATION.
- We naively believe our struggles and temptations are UNIQUE.
WHAT IS A BIBLICAL ACCOUNTABILITY RELATIONSHIP?
While most of us intellectually generally agree on the concept of being one another’s keeper, we have varied in our approach to living that out.
Historically, accountability has taken on different forms. Small groups often encourage some kind of accountability as part of the discipleship process, and some groups have even gathered for corporate confession.
This is not a new concept.
The world is very aware of the power of accountability. Recovery groups and self-help groups all include an accountability component where they share temptations with the intention to motivate lasting change. It works!
And yet, the majority of Christians do not have or have not experienced a biblical accountability relationship.
If we agree that it works, why aren’t we engaging? We care about discipleship, and we know that becoming a Romans 12 Christian who is growing consistently takes intention and effort, and yet so many of us have overlooked this key instruction.
I believe we’ve forgotten the power of biblical accountability relationships and the impact they can have on our spiritual walk and lifelong legacy. That’s why we’re exploring verses that teach us how to form these kinds of partnerships and teach us why they’re pivotal in our lives.
5 Bible Verses to Inspire and Direct Biblical Accountability Relationships
1. We never outgrow the need for PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
The Apostle Paul’s greatest desire was to be used greatly for Christ. On the flip side, his greatest fear was getting disqualified from the “race.” Even he was concerned that he’d subtly stray from following Jesus. If Paul was concerned, how much more concerned should we be?
And leaders, you’re the most susceptible. Whether you lead teams or you lead toddlers, you are not above questions that will be presented in a biblical accountability relationship. Those inquiries dig below the surface and reveal who you really are — for the purpose of confession, growth, and discipleship.If the Apostle Paul was concerned with getting disqualified from the “race” of faith, how much more should we be concerned? Our training should include a trusted biblical accountability relationship. Click To Tweet
2. Past successes are no guarantee of FUTURE FAITHFULNESS.
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5 1)
In other words, don’t rest on your laurels.
After Paul just admitted he was concerned about his faith, he pointed back to the Israelites. His ancestors were examples of faithful people who’d had powerful experiences following God, and yet — when disappointment struck — doubted.
We’re no different than the Israelites! We could create a long list of things God has done on our behalf and the grace He’s bestowed upon us. Yet when a crisis appears, we also lose faith. It’s no different than the Red Sea and the manna and the serpents and all the other stories.
Actually, it’s His ways that sustain you. That’s why Moses wasn’t saying, “God, give me one more great experience.” Rather, he said, “Lord, I want to see Your glory. I want to know You. I want to know what You’re like. I want to know Your heart.”
There is no such thing as spiritual autopilot. The truth is: walking with God in the past is no guarantee that you’ll walk with Him in the future. A biblical accountability relationship will help you to know His heart.
Get equipped: 12 Powerful Scriptures For Spiritual Warfare Resistance
3. We constantly underestimate the power of our own SINFUL PASSIONS.
“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat to eat and drink and stood to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:6-11)
How in the world can some of the most committed, gifted people in the entire church, both in Bible times and now, get off track? And if Paul thinks he has the potential to stray, don’t think you’re exempt from the same fate.
Do you underestimate the power of your own sinful passions?
You are human and so am I! I don’t care how long you’ve been a Christian, how dedicated you are to your quiet time, you are always in a battle.
Whether it’s a time of difficulty, loneliness, travel, pain, sickness, or unresolved anger and injustice, be aware of your humanity and need for the Light. That’s the beauty of a biblical accountability relationship — you know your behavior’s going to be brought to light, which helps you to avoid the darkness.
Resist warfare when you memorize God’s Word: Invisible War Scripture CardsWhy do we underestimate the power of our sinful passions? We have to acknowledge that we’re always in a battle and that we’re sometimes tempted (which isn’t a sin). Then we need to admit our humanity and our need for accountability. Click To Tweet
4. We constantly overestimate our ability to handle TEMPTATION.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
I’ve been there, too. In your subconscious, you’re thinking that you would never do that. You might be saying, “I would never do that. I mean, I’m past that. Those things don’t affect me.”
Many times, accountability focuses on avoiding sin. In this Got Questions article on the importance of accountability, the author reminds us of the dark forces behind our temptations and the importance of resistance.
In this verse from Hebrews, the author provides an anecdote to the very real possibility that sin hardens hearts that were once soft and inviting to God’s ways:
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
When we’re ENCOURAGING one another by coming alongside one another, our hearts can stay soft and alert. Sometimes a biblical accountability relationship looks like having very serious, hard conversations. Other times, it’s coming alongside someone and LISTENING in support.
5. We naively believe our struggles and temptations are UNIQUE.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Because we naively believe our struggles and temptations are unique, we start to hide the ones that we think are too bad or ones for which we’re too mature.
This is exactly what the Enemy wants you to believe. Secrecy will be used to bombard you with doubts and struggles and condemnation. But you can take that way of escape and avoid being overtaken.
Your biblical accountability partner will help to point out the ways of escape and also remind you that your temptations are not unique.
Forgiveness awaits: 4 Events That Explain God’s Grace For Prodigal Sons
There you have it. Five reasons to pursue a biblical accountability relationship with a trusted advisor in your life.
Although few take this step in their walk with Christ, Scripture is clear about the importance. The Apostle Paul needed it, and 1 Corinthians 10 outlines that clearly, we all need it.
Leave a legacy of faith and let no temptation seize you. God provides a way of escape in His design of confessing our sins to one another and bringing truth into the light.
Get specific instructions on how to develop a biblical accountability relationship, how to establish priorities in your life, and harnessing discipline when you listen to my sermon series on YouTube entitled Balancing Life’s Demands.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip