Some years ago a pastor-friend of mine was looking for a new assembly to shepherd. I asked him, “What kind of place are you looking for?” I assumed he would mention characteristics such as location, denomination, worship style, etc. Instead, his reply was this: “I just want to be in a place where people will let me love them.”
The more I meditated on his answer, the clearer it became to me. Not everyone will “allow” you to love them. Not everyone will “allow” you to shepherd or disciple them. People carry baggage from the past – hurts, wounds, and disappointments- and remember, wounded people wound others. Still other people are just independent and isolated. And unfortunately some people are just so full of their own agenda and pride, it would be beneath them to be discipled by another.
Are you short-circuiting your spiritual growth because you are not willing to submit to another whom God has put in your path to help you navigate the road of life? Usually there is a deeper issue. Do you carry baggage that causes you to not trust others? Do you need to forgive past friends, and/or parents? Or do you need to forgive a former spiritual leader (or church) who diminished and abused your calling, your value, and your uniqueness?
If we are not willing to be discipled, 99% of the time we will not be interested in discipling others. This Valentine’s Day, be sure you tell others who have invested in you how much you love and appreciate them. But also, most importantly, examine yourself and see if there is anything blocking the flow of the Holy Spirit that causes you to disallow others from really loving you.
God uses us most effectively when we are walking in the context of healthy relationships with each other. He can heal you past hurts and disappointments! I can’t wait to see how God will place you in new opportunities of ministry as you find new freedom!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35