It’s not easy to walk the deal out. The day of conversion is not the same as the work of transformation and the process takes community. You can’t work it out in a service or from a book, it takes authentic relationships which are aligned with eternal purpose to achieve eternal purpose.
When there is you and one or two other people trying to living in close relationship, they are typically called “accountability partners.” I’ll suggest that relationships based in “accountability” are inferior to relationships based in transparency. The difference is more than semantics and critical to the maturity of the individuals that are involved. Key differences between being “accountable” versus being “transparent:”
- Accountability is an outside-in evaluation often based in performance compared to the rules. In other words, it can often become focused on what sin there has been that indicates a need to do better.
- Transparency is a sharing of the heart. It’s exposing things that are brewing within our souls that are revealed as needy for healing, redemption or transformation. That’s not performance, it’s identity.
- Accountability is an external mechanism to achieve modified behavior.
- Transparency is motivated by revelation of internal need for growth.
- Accountability is confined to a meeting or narrow scope of relationships.
- Transparency is a lifestyle which facilitates personal freedom as well as freedom for others as it makes it safe to be real beyond only a few people.
A framework of accountability to start of process of self-awareness is good towards discipline in areas that have created problems in your life. That framework, when nurtured to maturity, necessarily has to take us from a dependence on external measures of performance to transformation of hearts to become mature disciples. Without that evolution towards the greater realization of identity, then we will remain tied to the Old Covenant of keeping the law to reflect our ability to adhere to His precepts. This is opposed to the intention of allowing the law which was written on our hearts to be an expression of Him.
If we can’t get real about the “why” then we are reduced to guilt, shame and trying hard in the “what.” Jesus announced His ministry as one that heals broken hearts and sets captives free. He died for us to be loosed from the bondage that manifests as behaviors, not that we might be more capable in managing those behaviors.