Cain, the first-born son of Adam and Eve, first spoke these words after he murdered his brother, Able. God held Cain accountable for his sin, and he was cursed. [Gen 4:9-11]. In one generation, sin took a mighty leap from disobedience to murder.
From the beginning, God created man and woman to be one flesh. They sinned together and they were punished together. Although Eve blamed the serpent, and Adam blamed Eve, they were held accountable for their actions. Not even the serpent escaped God’s punishment. [Gen 2-3]. Today, the New Testament church is one body, representing our unity with Christ, and we, too, are accountable to one another.
Webster’s definition of accountability is “subject to having to report, explain or justify; being answerable, responsible.”
God’s definition of accountability is “Submitting to one another in the fear of God’ [Ephesians 5:21]
So, yes, we are our brother’s/sister’s keeper. Does this mean that it is our responsibility to point out flaws, judge and criticize our brothers and sisters? God forbid. The bible says, “…As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” [Prov 27]. We are to support, encourage and uplift one another. We are to be honest, share our problems and struggles and confess our sins to on another, and pray for one another [James 5:16].
In addition, as we grow in Christ, we are to replace our old ways with new ways that reflect our new identity in Christ. [Colossians 3:8-10], and allow our brothers, sisters and church leaders to support us by listening and abiding by godly advise and even correction. We should receive correction as a growth opportunity, not criticism. Even rude correction can have a ring of truth for us. It would be wise to not get defensive, but to humble ourselves, examine ourselves, and apply the advice to our life in a positive way so that we don’t become obstacles to ourselves. [Heb 13:7; Heb. 13:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14; Prov 19:20]. This is all for the edifying of the body of Christ [Ephesians 4:11-16]. We are to show our concern about a brother or sister who strays from the truth out of love for them. [James 5:19,20]
During our spiritual walk with God, we grow closer to Him as we deny our flesh to become more like Him, and less like the world. [Roman 12:1-21]. As we grow in Christ, our gifts and responsibilities increase. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:” [Luke 12:48]. Each one is to reach one, and teach one. This is discipleship. It is our ultimate goal [Mathew 28-18-20]. However, in order to be effective, we must lead by example. Therefore, let us live a lifestyle that reflects the gospel. We should spend most of our time seeking God through His Word and in prayer and supplication, and examining ourselves. Then, we can help someone else walk more upright. [Mathew 7:4]
Therefore, God assigns us according to our calling. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Ephesians 4:11-16].
Leaders that lead by example are respected. The best leaders are servants. Let us wait on our ministry by waiting on God’s people [Mathew 25:40]. This is how we serve our Lord. This is how we equip through accountability.
© 2007 Arletia McInnis, The Prophetic Scribe