The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. ~ John 3:29, 30
READING: John 3:22-31
The people we meet in the course of planting churches are often so hungry for someone to love them and pay attention to them, that it’s fairly common for them to develop a personal attachment and loyalty to us as their leaders. Especially if we lead them to the Lord, they may look to us for general guidance and affirmation, not just in spiritual matters.
New believers need us to lead them. They’re often spiritually ignorant, and don’t know how to distinguish God’s voice when they pray or how to recognize God’s guidance. It is totally appropriate for us to provide godly guidance and to make ourselves available as a sounding board for our people as they begin to grow in their faith.
But eventually we must wean them off their dependence on us, after it has outgrown its usefulness, and steer them toward an un-mediated relationship with Christ. Otherwise, we will become a distraction or – worse – a competitor for their undivided loyalty.
In my experience, the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart giving me a sense of when I should start getting out of the way. I begin withholding advice or comfort. Instead I gently suggest they take their dilemma or trauma to Jesus, giving them an opportunity to hear God’s wonderful voice for themselves and receive His guidance and comfort directly.
It’s not that we stop having any role. But they belong to Christ, not us. It’s a joy when He takes center stage.
Father, Make me like John who pointed people to Jesus and then got out of the way. Amen.
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