I have a confession to make: I do not floss as often as I should.
I know, I know, I should floss at least once a day, probably more. But I’m that person who gets reprimanded every time I go to the dentist because I didn’t do what I should. Apparently my exceedingly bloody gums are a dead giveaway.
However, the week prior to a dentist appointment is always different. I’m not sure if it’s the sore gums I want to avoid, or being reprimanded (nicely, of course) for my failure to faithfully floss. Either way, I’m motivated to do my duty as my appointment nears.
Why do I divulge these dental issues of mine? Well, every time this happens (yes, it keeps happening) I see a clear spiritual parallel. Namely, the pain of accountability motivates right living.
The Importance of Regular Accountability
Truly, I want to floss, and I think it’s a really good idea—but so many things get in the way. That is, until I remember I am going to answer to someone regarding my gum neglect!
So it is with many aspects of the Christian life.
We know its good to be godly, we know we should be women who pray, we know we should study the Bible, we know we should stop getting distracted, we know we should make changes…and we probably think it’s all totally worth doing. Yet so many things seem to get in the way!
Would we not be more successful if someone was (lovingly) in our face about those things regularly?
I think we would.
If giving a weekly report of your prayer habits would help you pray better, find someone who will check in each week! If you need someone to ask you about specific sanctification issues on a regular basis, get someone who will do that. If you need to daily tell someone about the sin you’re fighting, find someone who will hold you to it!
Basically, find someone who motivates you to live this Christian life better! Find someone who won’t let you even entertain any thought of soul neglect.
If you know you need better accountability in your life, I encourage you to do 4 things:
- Pinpoint what you know you should do, but still struggle to do.
- Think through who will faithfully hold you accountable.
- Determine how often you should check in, in order to feel the weight of answering to someone.
- Ask for the accountability you need!
But Don’t Forget Your Future Accountability!
Accountability is super helpful when it’s right there in your face. God’s people help and challenge each other, like “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). But we must keep in mind the most important accountability the Bible speaks of. Consider passages such as these:
2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Romans 14:12: Each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Matthew 12:36: I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13: Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
So of course, regular (human) accountability is helpful, but we can’t forget who we will ultimately answer to. And this can be harder. We can lose motivation and focus when accountability seems so far off (like me with flossing when there’s 6 months between each appointment!)
But whether we forget or not, the truth remains: we will answer to God himself.
And the regret from bad spiritual choices will be a lot worse than bleeding gums and a lecture given from the smiling dental hygienist. Granted, Christians will not face the ultimate judgement as non-Christians do, but as my sore gums will attest, accountability can still hurt.
So do whatever you need to do to remember you will answer to God.
Maybe memorize a passage (perhaps one of the above). Or set up some reminders (on your phone or with a post-it note). If nothing else, maybe every time you floss (which is hopefully more than me), you can remember 2 things…1) you need regular ongoing accountability, and 2) you should live like you will give an account to God for your life.
And hopefully your regret will be less because of it.