5 Steps To Accountability
How to build accountability into your spiritual life with a plan that promises to produce greater spiritual returns.
In spite of the popular image of the rogue male individualist - the "Jason Bourne" type - God designed us for relationships. Even the strongest and most rugged of us need other men to live life well and to gain spiritual traction. Here are some ways that each of us can build accountability into our spiritual lives.
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One | Quit avoiding relationships.
Men can be intensely private about their inner lives. Sometimes this protective privateness is just plain old pride. A pride that keeps us from getting in touch with our deeper needs or taking the step of sharing these needs because they expose our weaknesses. In fact, when it comes to accountability in our spiritual lives, it is often the mere sin of pride that prevents advancement. Humility says, "I need to be in a relationship," while pride says, "I don't want to expose myself." This issue is directly related to the second truth.
Two | Invite honest feedback.
As humble men, we should be willing to invite feedback so that we can get help where we struggle. The first step is admitting this to ourselves – rather than pretending otherwise – and the second step is inviting others in to help. We only invite this feedback when we have authentic and trusting relationships with other Christ-following men.
Three | Ask for specific accountability.
There is no Christian who doesn't need accountability. All of us have different struggles and unique vulnerabilities, and without authentic relationships with others, we will never become better men. But here is the thing about accountability - you have to be specific to see specific results. You have two paths to choose from on this one. You can avoid specific accountability and take the easy road. Or you can start asking for specific accountability and take the harder road. But it's the harder road that produces better results. When we invite another man to hold us accountable in areas of weakness, while it might be embarrassing, or even painful to make the needed changes, this is the hard road to positive change. Accountability must be specific and measurable, so we know when we win and we lose.
Four | Make accountability positive.
We often resist traditional accountability because it reminds us of an authoritarian relationship. But accountability is not just about obeying rules, being disciplined, or being made to feel inadequate. There is another way of looking at accountability which is far more positive. It is one that asks questions like, "Can we mutually encourage each other as we follow Jesus?" Keep in mind the New Testament writers tells us numerous time to "encourage one another." Turn accountability from a negative experience to a positive one.
Five | Define small marks of success.
We will never "arrive" in our spiritual life until we see Jesus. However, every small step we take to grow in Christ builds on every other small step we have taken, and all of those incremental steps lead to significant growth on our part. Celebrate those incremental steps! Philippians 3:16, Paul makes an interesting statement. He says, "Only let us live up to what we have already attained." In other words, live what we know and keep on growing. These suggestions can help you live what you know.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.