Accountability in the Believer’s Life

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

By Fr. Chris Lee OFR

One of the most important functions in the Body of Christ is accountability. It is easy to talk about, but often difficult to practice. None of us like the idea or feeling of being judged, so we tend to shy away from accountability, believing that what we do is no one’s business but our own. As we look to Scripture, we find that the believer’s life is not one of isolation, but one of communion with other believers. Living in unity with the other members of Christ’s body is a unique trait of our faith. We are accountable for more than just our actions, we are also accountable for our attitudes. God not only looks at what we do, but also our motivation and quality of our character. (1 Samuel 16:7)

The first step to true accountability is to submit ourselves to proper spiritual authority. Each one of us struggle at times with the natural tendency to rebel against authority. True accountability allows others (proper spiritual authority such as a Pastor, Counselor, Mentor etc.) to enter into that honest struggle with us. Their role is not that of a judge, but that of a coach. They are there to guide us, and challenge us with scriptural truth and wisdom of personal experience. Scripture teaches us to willingly submit to this authority for the benefit of the whole Church. (Ephesians 5:21)

Ultimately, our beliefs, opinions, and attitudes toward accountability reflect our beliefs, opinions, and attitudes about submission to God. If we are rebellious toward the very One Who created us, and Who loves us, we will naturally rebel against submission to others. Each one of us “believers” must examine ourselves and ask the questions: Am I submitting to God? Am I submitting to proper spiritual authority on earth? Am I living for the Body, or am I living for myself? My hope is that the entire Body of Christ can walk in harmony with our Lord when He taught us to pray, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”. (Matthew 6:3)

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