Some Thoughts on Men’s Accountability

Posted on October 10, 2011 by

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Accountability. It’s something that, as men, we are constantly told we need. But at the same time I think most of us don’t have a really clear picture of what that accountability should look like. We’re told that it means we need to be calling each other out on things – that we need to be asking each other the hard questions. And yet, after years of accountability partners and accountability groups, the questions I have usually been asked (or even been guilty of asking) are always something vaguely along the lines of, “did you read your Bible this week?”, “did you have any struggles with lust this week?” or even “how have things been going lately?”

The problem with vague questions like this is that they both fail to be specific enough to address the actual struggles that we as men deal with, as well as missing the real heart issues that underlie those struggles.

For instance, if a man is struggling with pornography, he may say, “I had a couple of rough days this week”, or “yeah, I’ve struggled with lust this week.” What he actually means is that he has engaged in online fornication on one or more occasion, but because of his tone of voice he can give the impression that, aside from a couple of rough patches, it wasn’t a bad week. That man’s root problem may be selfishness, but questions like, “how has your struggle with lust been?” don’t cover his heart issue or the other ways it is most certainly manifesting itself, such as how he treats his wife and children in other areas.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about men’s accountability, it’s definitely that it should be grace-focused, not law-focused. Checklists will not work out the sanctification of our souls. And yet, unless we are willing to take the gloves and ask each other difficult and embarrassing questions (and in turn, answer those questions with candid, painful, uncomfortable honesty) our accountability time will not be as helpful as it could be and it will eventually fizzle out and die.

So to that end, here is a list of questions that I’ve been prayerfully considering this week. This is the list I will  be giving the men in my core group, and asking them to use it to hold me personally accountable for my walk with Christ. Again, the goal here is sanctification, not legalism, and so this list isn’t just something for me to check off to make sure I’ve been a good man. It’s a checkup – a list of symptoms, if you will, that will help show me the wickedness of my heart.

Quiet Time

At the end of the day, the kind of man I am or am not will be a direct result of how much like Christ I am becoming. And that, in turn, has very much to do with how much time I spend with him. When I put Him first, I take the first step towards dying to self that week. When I don’t, is it really a surprise that the works of the flesh manifest themselves in my life?

  • Did you spend 1-on-1 time with Jesus this week?
  • Have you been consistently digging fresh insights out of God’s Word? If so, what?
  • Have you spent time in prayer daily for your wife?
  • Have you spent time in prayer daily for your church & pastors?
  • Are you harboring or treasuring unconfessed sin or rebellion in your heart that you know God wants you to give up to Him?

Selfishness

Selfishness is at the root of a lot of the traditional “male” sins. When it comes right down to it, it’s our own selfishness that’s at the core of our lust, our anger, and our pride. And more than anything else, a selfish heart will destroy marriages, relationships, and lives. In Scripture, Christ calls for us as men to unselfishly give of our lives, just as Christ gave his for the church:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…” (Eph 5:25)

  • Have you become angry or frustrated with your wife this week? Why?
  • Have you put your needs before those of your wife?
  • Have you demanded service instead of being a godly servant leader?
  • Have you become angry or frustrated when running late, or any other time that you have felt out of control this week?

Sexual Morality

This is the big one, isn’t it? The questions about sexual morality are probably the most uncomfortable on this list. But they’re also some of the most needful, in a world where a pornography “habit” is considered normal and even healthy by the population at large.

  • Have you looked at any hardcore pornography this week?
  • Have you looked at any softcore pornography this week?
  • Have you deliberately sought out any form of media to feed your lustful passions?
  • Have you allowed entertainment into your life (movies, TV shows) that make provision for the flesh by raunchy scenes, immodest dress, or intimacy on the screen?
  • Have you looked lustfully at women other than your wife?
  • Have you robbed your wife by gratifying your flesh (masturbation)?
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Posted in: food for thought