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When our children were small, we used checklists to help keep them on track. My wife would make elaborate wall charts that would be decorated with smiley faces, check marks, smurf stickers or whatever inanimate creatures would motivate them to clean their rooms or take out the trash. It was a good system at least for the first few years of life.

As adults we use checklists for grocery shopping, office management, Christmas gifts, school assignments and anything else we need to remember. So when someone mentions accountability it is natural to equate a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and relationship with….well…another checklist.

True Biblical accountability has very little to do with a checklist as we would utilize it in our daily lives. Accountability may be measured or communicated via a checklist tool but the checklist should simply be the result of the discipline, not the initiator.

Biblical accountability is first about an intimate relationship with God that then extends to His people. The factor that separates a checklist from being a perfunctory task is a growing relationship with God. This vibrant relationship described in John 15 is one of dependency that reminds us of our desperate need for abiding consistently with the Savior.

If we are growing in our love, desire and worship of Him then accountability is a natural response as we share our walk with a friend. Our love for God causes us to seek out another person with the same heartbeat who is willing to walk along side us on this spiritual journey.

Some of my dearest and deepest friendships have been forged through accountability partnerships. I have several friends who are as close to me as brothers because of our deep, resolute spiritual connection. One of my closest friends has been my accountability partner for forty years and to this day he spurs me on to greater growth in my walk with Christ. There is no way you can put a price tag on the value of that relationship.

Checklists and accountability should not be confused nor should they be separated. The real difference is not in the tool used to communicate accountability: it is in motive, heartbeat, desire and relationship.

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