Why A Lot Of Christian Accountability Is Lame And What To Do About It
Is it just me or is a lot of what’s done in the name of Christian accountability super lame?
This is a typical Christian accountability conversation:
“How are you doing?”
“I’m struggling with XYZ.”
“Me too. Let’s feel bad together and do nothing to change.” OR “Let me lecture you and/or try to fix you.”
This is lame #1
Asking someone how they are doing is a bad question.
You hear it all the time, right?
“I heard Jimmy is doing bad.”
“Do you know how Jimmy is doing?”
“Oh he’s doing really good right now.”
The reason that talking this way is lame is that it implies that “doing” is what is most important, and whatever constitutes “doing good” or “doing bad” is completely subjective depending on the one who’s saying it.
This is lame #2
Accountability centered around what I’m “struggling” with puts the focus on me and creates fertile ground for condemnation and self righteousness. The last thing a person needs is more self focus.
This is lame #3
There’s nothing worse than taking the time and effort to bear your soul with another person for accountability, only to leave feeling worse than when you started, or convicted with no clue of how to get out of what your in.
Consider An Alternative Approach
How about approaching it like this:
“What is God currently saving you from?”
“God is saving me from XYZ.”
“How is he doing it? How are you accessing gospel power to save you from the power of sin?”
The bible teaches that salvation isn’t just a past and future event, but a present one as well. (1 Cor 1:18, 15:2, 2 Cor 2:15, Acts 2:47). Everyone who has put their faith in Christ is “being saved” from the power of sin. This is also called sanctification. (2 Thess 2:13)
If that’s true and the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16), then we should testify of God’s current saving power.
Truly effective accountability emphasizes the need for salvation and the way to receive it now. Truly effective accountability should result in a person leaving the conversation full of faith in Christ.
Just the words themselves make a difference: “I’m struggling with” vs. “God is saving me from” puts the focus on God and off of us. Talking about our sin with the focus on us brings shame. Talking about our sin with the focus on God’s saving power brings humility, joy, and liberation.
Instead of the focus being on how I’m doing, it needs to be on what I’m believing. We access the power of the gospel now in the same way that we accessed it when we first met Jesus – by faith.
It’s no longer “how are you doing?” but rather “how are you believing?”.
The bible says that the saints conquered the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Rev 12:10-11).
What if our times of Christian accountability consisted of testifying about the precious blood of Jesus’ power to save us from the present power of sin and how we practically access that by faith?
(Image Credit: SDASM Archives)
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.