There is only one place you could look at for some help dealing with how those you are serving and loving respond to you. That place is your own heart.
An impossible endeavor.
Making disciples hard, very hard. I was reminded of this reality last week, while I was attempting to serve and love those around me.
I saw believers disregarding His work in them, behaving in a way that practically contradicted the transformation He can bring into our hearts. I witnessed followers of Christ against followers of Christ. Other were more consumed by preoccupations of this life than by the glory that is to come, relegating the worship of His name to a distance second place in their lives.
I had the impression that all my disciple-making efforts were going backwards.
Yes, making disciples among the nations is an impossible endeavor, if we only consider our own strength.
But He has not changed. The Triune God of the Universe will never change, His arm is not shorter, He is still willing and able to reconcile.
We must remember: it is not us who are making disciples; it is God the Holy Spirit working through us – and sometimes, despite of us – who is at work, here.
The same God we read about in Scripture is the One calling people back to Himself. It’s the same Spirit applying the benefits from the same Christ according to the plan of the same Father.
We are just broken vessels whom are blessed with the opportunity to see Jehovah doing what only Jehovah can do and does.
The measurement stick.
How, then, do we fight discouragement? Well, first we need to address the fact that this discouragement we are experiencing may be the result of our own pride. Things may be going according to His plan – and how could they not – but not according to ours. We may have the tendency of using our own pilgrimage as the standard against which we measure everyone else, forgetting that no matter how far He has taking us down the path of reconciliation, we are still work in progress, we still have shortcomings, we are still in need of His help.
The truth is that you and I also behave in disappointing ways. We neglect His work in us. We embrace things of this world with a higher priority than the one we give to His upcoming eternity.
But if we are uncertain of what’s going on in someone else’s heart, we can be certain of what it’s going on in ours. Your heart is the only one you know, for sure. And in there you can see Him at work. You have new tendencies toward holiness, service, and love for others that are totally unnatural save by His work in you.
The disappointment is real, but His encouragement also is. Look at your own heart to see Him in action. Confess your pride and celebrate His faithfulness.
The battle is not easy, but you are well provided for.
Knowing first hand how difficult the battle is will give you more patience and grace toward those you are serving and loving.
Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity.