We were not intended to go on this journey of life alone. God folds us into His own family – the body of Christ – so that we can find fellowship and relationship there. One of the most enriching relationships you can find there (outside marriage) is an accountability partner (or partners). This is not to imply that spouses should not hold one another accountable – on the contrary they should; however, it is also important to have one or more friends (of the same sex) in whom we can confide and have a deep and open relationship with – someone who can understand our struggles and support us just as we support them. Most importantly though, the relationship needs to be permeated with honesty – complete unabashed honesty (i.e. speaking the truth in love [Ephesians 4:15]).
Each of us longs for acceptance – longs to feel like they belong – the right accountability partner can fill that need. The bible tells us to “accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7). God has accepted us unconditionally, and we are instructed to do the same for each other. That means we are to love our friends for who they are not who we think they should be. For example, my friends love me right now despite the fact that I am overweight. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t encourage me towards victory in that area. They do – regularly – but it does mean that their love for me is not conditional on my success in that area. But the support, encouragement, and intercession they offer is helping me to find victory in that area.
Finding the right person
It’s important that you find the right person when looking for an accountability partner. Seeking the Holy Spirit’s counsel is incredibly important – pray regularly that God will bring into your life a friend to fill this role. If you feel that you may know who it should be – you should test the friendship against what the Bible says.
- Be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:12
- Carry each other’s burdens. Galatians 6:2
- Agree with one another. 1 Corinthians 1:10, Romans 15:5
- Offer hospitality to one another. 1 Peter 4:9
What is an accountability partner?
An accountability partner should play several different roles – they should encourage, exhort, advise, pray, listen, and so much more. Let’s take a look at some of the different things an accountability partner should do.
- Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. Romans 14:13
- Encourage one another and build each other up (so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness). 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13, Hebrews 10:25, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:18, Acts 20:2, Acts 18:27, Acts 16:40, Acts 15:32
- Spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
- Warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
- Pray for each other. James 5:16
- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15-17
- Be sympathetic with one another. 1 Peter 3:8
- Confess your sins to each other. James 5:16
- Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
- Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:15-17
- Serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
- Submit to one another. Ephesians 5:21
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Romans 12:15-17
- Don’t pass judgment on one another. Romans 14:13
- Forgive each other. Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13
- Show mercy and compassion to one another. Zechariah 7:8-10, 1 Peter 3:8, Ephesians 4:32
- In your hearts do not think evil of each other. Zechariah 7:8-10
- Love one another. John 13:34, John 13:35, Romans 12:10, Romans 13:8, Ephesians 4:2, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11, 2 John 1:5,
- Live in harmony with one another. Romans 12:15-17, 1 Peter 3:8
Wrapping it all up
I encourage you to seek the Lord’s face as you look for this special friend(s). He will guide you. Friendships like these are like no others… it’s like Moses, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” (Exodus 17:11) – your accountability partner(s) will be there to hold up your hands for you when you are unable to do it yourself, and you will do the same for them. It is when we unite against the enemy that we are stronger.