September 29, 2010
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
II Corinthians 5:10 (NIV)
I sat on my bed feeling disappointed in myself. I had been to a party and, instead of abstaining from the junk food they were serving, I had indulged. Why did I keep cheating on the healthy diet I was trying to stick to? Just last year I was unswerving in my commitment to eat healthy, never cheating. I kept my eye on the prize of weight loss and better living through proper nutrition. While I still cared about how I looked and, even more, how I felt, I had less willpower than before. What had changed? As I thought back, I realized one essential component had changed from last year to this: accountability.
Last year I saw a doctor every week who weighed me, measured me and talked to me about my choices. She held me accountable in every sense of the word and there were many times that accountability of knowing I was going to have to check in with her kept me from eating what I was not good for me. Accountability, I realized, counted.
This realization made me look at other areas of my life where accountability had made a difference. When I decided to chase my dream of finally writing a novel, I had a friend who held me accountable—even to the point of making me finish it when I wanted to do anything but. That same friend also holds me accountable for the way I spend my time. She challenges me to keep my priorities in check and to live my life according to what I say my priorities are. We have the kind of relationship where she can say hard things—even when that's the last thing I want to hear.
Sometimes we resist accountability, even when it's the best thing for us. My husband recently put a computer program on our children's laptops that keeps up with what sites they visit as well as the amount of time they spend online and then sends us a report. They didn't relish the idea of being monitored, but we assured them that this accountability will go a long way towards helping them form good habits. Knowing someone is checking behind us, asking the hard questions, and calling us on our actions can make all of us better stewards and servants of Christ. Sometimes we must enter into an accountability relationship—not because we like it, but because it's the best thing for us.
What do you need to be held accountable for? Maybe it's spending more time with your family, watching your words, respecting your husband, limiting time wasters, committing to regular exercise, breaking a bad habit, or avoiding weak areas in your life.
A single friend of mine asked several friends to call her after every date she went on. She knew that the fact that she was being quizzed on her conduct later would help her make better decisions in the heat of the moment. Sometimes just knowing we will have to answer for our actions changes the whole outcome.
In the end we will be held accountable by Christ. II Corinthians 5:10 says the things we do will be judged by whether they were good, or bad. The word "bad" in this verse means worthless. This was sobering for me to understand. I could fool myself into thinking as long as I didn't do something "bad" I was in the clear. Instead this verse tells me that God is going to ask me, "Did you make your time count? Were the things you committed to of value to My Kingdom?"
If I have to be accountable to Him someday, I think it's a good idea to install godly accountability in my life now: the right words, the right choices, the right voices speaking into my life. I have learned that accountability counts towards a more abundant life. I just have to submit myself to it first.
Dear Lord, please show me the people in my life who would serve as good accountability partners. Help me to see what areas I could use some accountability in. I want the things I do to bring glory to You and add value to Your kingdom. Help me to accept accountability in my life and to submit myself to it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Marybeth's blog
The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen
Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby
The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson
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Pray for God to show you someone who can hold you accountable. Then humbly ask that person.
What area of your life do you need accountability? What keeps you from opening yourself up to it? How could being accountable to someone else for your actions change your life for the better?
Proverbs 12:15, "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." (NIV)
Proverbs 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise." (NIV)
© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
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