Hebrews 4:10-13Amplified Bible
10 For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience [as those who died in the wilderness]. 12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Accountability is a big topic.
Does Integrity count for anything anymore?
Does Honesty count when, in this age of social media and the internet, we try so very hard to hide everything about us, who we are, every single thing we can in mindless minutiae, and cyber-cookies – just trying to get away with so much?
There are a whole lot of places to “hide stuff” on the internet in “cyberspace.”
Does Accountability matter?
Do we try too hard to let too much just slip into a state of cyber-anonymity?
“Who is going to know what to look for anyway?”
“Who has the time to look anyway?”
“Who has the energy to look anyway?”
“What are the chances of ever our “being discovered or found out?”
“Isn’t everybody too busy “minding their own business” anyway?
Do a quick google search!
You will find a whole lot of people are asking things like:
What is personal accountability?
What is the difference between responsibility and accountability?
What does the Bible say about accountability?
Why is personal accountability important?
And searching things like: How to hold people accountable, how to hold yourself accountable, and how to be accountable to others.
But around here, our primary interest is in what the Bible has to say on any matter, so the main question we want to answer today is, what does the Bible say about accountability?
We will strive to faithfully, hopefully, lovingly, prayerfully learn that personal accountability is a major key to living a life of victory, so of course, we want to strive to give practical application advice for how to hold yourself accountable.
What does the Bible Say about our Personal Accountability?
It’s hard to narrow the answer to this question down to just one verse, because there are so many facets to personal accountability. Of course, we will try to cover some of these facets and verses below, but if I had to choose one verse that kind of sums it all up, I think it would be this one from Hebrews 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.
Nothing whatsoever is hidden from the Lord our God, the Word of the Lord our God, the POWER behind the Word of the Lord our God and there’s not one single creature exists that is concealed from HIS sight, but ALL things are open and exposed, AND revealed to the EYES of HIM with whom we have to give account.
Psalm 139:1-12 Amplified Bible
God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.
What an incredibly stunning revelation spoken, penned, then sung by David!
The question that always seems to linger in my mind when I read these verses is what David’s emotional state was when he wrote and then sung these words.
Was he singing them from a place of hiding -from man, from God, or both?
Was he singing them from a place of intrigue?
Was he singing them from a place of joy?
Was he singing them from a place of gratitude?
Was he singing them from a place of thanksgiving?
Was he singing them from a place of fear and trembling?
Was he singing them from a place of anger?
Was he singing them from a place of anxiety?
Was he singing them from a place of depression?
Was he singing them from a place of deceit?
Was he singing them from a place of subterfuge?
Was he singing them from a place – “secure” in his knowledge he just pulled the wool over everyone’s eye – including God’s – In essence – committing criminal acts, conspiring to commit criminal acts, Mocking man and God?
Was he singing them from a place – secure in his absolute authority as King and anointed by God, being a child of God – “now I will get away with everything secure in the knowledge, belief, “because I know God will forgive me anyway?”
Was he singing them from a place of a soul needing to be humbled before God?
Was he singing them from a place of kneeling on his way towards repentance?
Any one of these starting places is fully and equally valid – even for us in 2022.
Whether trying to be honest or trying to be deceitful or somewhere in between,
Whether we accept it or not, the Bible is clear that we are all accountable to God, and since no one and nothing is ever hidden from Him, we WILL have to give an accurate account of ourselves. The excuses, manipulations we are all tempted to employ in this life simply just will not work when we’re standing before Him.
Since that’s true, let’s dig a little deeper to discover how to hold yourself accountable now so that when you stand before Him, you will be prepared.
What is Personal Accountability?
Before we go too much further into answering the question, “What does the Bible say about accountability,” let’s take some time to define exactly what personal accountability is and why it’s important.
To understand personal accountability, we really just have to break the word down and find some definitions.
The root of the word is account, and the definition of account, in this case, is a report or description of an event or experience (Oxford).
So, to be accountable for something is to be “able to give an account,” or to have the capacity to report or describe that thing.
To be accountable to someone is to have the responsibility of offering an account to that person.
Most of us are accountable to someone (a boss, partner, board members, or shareholders) in our jobs, but that’s not personal accountability, that is corporate accountability.
So, what is personal accountability?
Romans 14:11-12Amplified Bible
11 For it is written [in Scripture],
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
As we’ve already discovered,
GOD SEES IT ALL!
GOD KNOWS IT ALL!
GOD HAS HEARD IT ALL!
We are all going to have to give a personal account to God.
That means, we are all going to have to answer to Him for our own lives. Not anyone else’s. That is what personal accountability is, and whether we choose to accept it or not, none of us will be able to escape from our God’s Judgement.
If you and I want to take that even .01% seriously, you and I will have to learn how to hold ourselves accountable to someone here. And just as no one will have to answer for you or me before God, no one can do it for us here either.
Accountability vs. Responsibility
Many people will think and believe that accountability and responsibility are the same thing. In fact, many sources will even use one of these words to define the other. But in reality, there is a very important difference between the two.
The word responsibility carries with it culpability or fault, while accountability simply necessitates giving an answer.
In the corporate world we can see this easily demonstrated in the relationship between boss and employee. The boss is not responsible to do the job of each employee but is accountable for whether or not the job gets done and the job gets done according to established manufacturers’ specifications correctly.
In our personal lives too, we’re not responsible for each and every detail.
Much of it is out of our control.
We don’t have any say in whether or not people treat us well, how certain events play out, or a thousand other little incontrollable details.
But according to the Bible,
We are still, will remain, 100% accountable to God for every detail of our lives.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Generous God, you are my soul’s provider, you give me everything I need. Our prosperity is only found in you. Give me clarity of mind and thought as I face difficulties and confusion in my life. Help me make choices that are obedient to your word and your will for my life. Help me to walk in your ways, obey your commands and trust in the name of Jesus. Help me to do this and prosper in everything I do, wherever I go. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.