Stew on This: Need to Improve Personal Accountability?
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
Personal accountability involves self-discipline. You heard this from the teaching of Jesus as well as the apostle Paul.
In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul said, “exercise strict self-control.”
And in 1 Corinthians 9:27, he said, “I beat my body and make it my slave.”
That was strong language saying he did not let his urges and passions control him. He said “no” firmly to those thoughts, feelings, and longings that kept him from accomplishing his goal, and honoring God.
Saying no to self and denying the pleasures of the moment means saying yes to what is more important in life. That’s discipline. And personal accountability is continually considering each decision and reflecting on choices to ensure you practice self-discipline.
The opposite of discipline is indulgence – sacrificing what matters most in life for the pleasure or thrill of the moment. Discipline is paying the price to bring your goals into reality. That’s true of any area of your life.
Physically, if you want to get in shape, you need to deny yourself by eating healthy, by exercising consistently, etc. If you want to be healthy financially you need to deny yourself by saving instead of spending, by going without instead of going in debt, by living with what you have instead of spending on the latest and greatest. If you want to be healthy spiritually you will need to say no to all the thoughts, feelings, and people that keep you from growing. And in order to make self-discipline a way of life, you need to hold yourself accountable before making decisions. You need to reflect on choices to evaluate how to continue growing.
Hebrews 12:1 explains that in your pursuit of the “race” God “has marked out for you,” you need to “lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance, keeping your eye firmly fixed on Jesus Christ – the lead runner.”
“Every weight” means not only bad things. It also includes okay things, even good things. Every weight includes anything that does not help you get where you need to be. These are things that get in your way and keep you from the best that God has for you. It is your responsibility to lay them aside. In order to hold yourself accountable, you need to ask, “What is getting in the way of me being who I want to be?” You need to identify things that you need to say no to, in order to advance in the direction God has for you.
What things are you doing to improve your self-discipline and personal accountability?