Philippians 4:9 “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
One of the greatest tools a Christian has in staying true to Christ is accountability. We all go through times of backsliding, indifference, and disobedience to the Lord and His Word. I wish it were not so. I wish that I could say that the journey of Christianity was simply one of continual progress of becoming more like Christ until the day we see Him, but we all know that is not the case. Often it feels like two steps forward, one step back (and, sometimes, one step forward, two steps back!) That is the problem with our sinful flesh.
Paul, probably one of the greatest Christians who ever lived, wrote in I Timothy 1:15b …that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Paul was not a new Christian at this time, but a seasoned Christian. He said “I am chief” of sinners, not “I was chief of sinners.” The sinful nature never leaves us while we are on earth. What can we do, then, to continue to battle this problem and stay useful for Christ? Be accountable to others.
The more people that depend on us and look to us for encouragement and example in their Christianity, the easier it is for us to stay on target. Who looks to us? First, our families. Do you have unsaved relatives that know you are a Christian? It matters how you live; you are a testimony for Christ. Like it or not, they judge the realness of the Christian life through your life. The same is true for unsaved neighbors and co-workers. We are the only “Bible” many folks will ever read. Are we making others want to be Christians through our example?
Our children look to us to see if Christianity is for real or not. How we act at home through the week (much more than how we act at church) is how they will judge the Christian life. What we say, what we watch on television, how we talk about others in the privacy of our homes is the barometer by which they decide whether or not they want to choose the Christian faith for themselves. We will never be perfect, but can we say that we live consistent lives with what we hear preached at church? Our children are watching and weighing our behavior.
Maybe you live a distance from your relatives; maybe you do not have children. Make yourself accountable to others. The more “layers” of accountability we have, the better our chances of reaching our potential for Christ. Add accountability to your life. One of the best ways to do this is to become active in service at your church. Becoming a Sunday school teacher is a wonderful way of staying accountable to others.
I teach an 8th grade girl’s Sunday school class. A few years back I became burdened about the fact that I was not passing out Gospel tracts to others I met throughout the week like I should. I decided to make a competition in my class. I started a chart the first week in September that ran through the last week of July. Each week I challenged the girls to pass out tracts to those they met in stores, on the street, etc. each week. On Sunday, they would fill in a number of how many tracts they passed out that week. I also put my name on the chart, and I filled in the number of tracts I passed out. The contest was- each girl that passed out as many tracts as I did by the end of July got to go on a special trip with me to Chicago. Every single girl in my class won that trip! Together we passed out almost 400 tracts over 11 months. That was a victory for them and for me. Because I had a Sunday School class, I was able to grow in my own Christian life. Accountability works!
Make goals with your children, your spouse, your friends, or your co-workers. Check on with each other regularly on your goals. Don’t try to go through life all on your own. It takes honesty and vulnerability to share your struggles and weak areas with others, but it also makes you REAL. We all need each other to reach our full potential.
Our verse for the week shows Paul telling others that he was disciplining to “do what I do. Follow my example of Christian living.” This is not arrogant; this is wise. We will do the most for Christ if others are depending on our faithfulness to make it in their own Christian walk. Let’s minister to others while making ourselves accountable as their examples. We will get much closer to our goal (Christ-likeness) if we are helping others achieve that same goal.
Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash