We need friends who will shake up our status quo. Disturbers ask us difficult questions, forcing us to take a closer look at motivations and ambitions. Disturbers know when we have retreated into our comfort zones, and they call us out to greater effectiveness. God uses disturbers in our lives to become the object of greater force that breaks inertia and propels us to greater achievement.
A biblical picture of a disturber is in Deuteronomy 32:11. In this passage, the mother eagle tears up the soft nest to reveal sharp thorns that bring discomfort to the eaglets. Because of discomfort, the eaglets leave the nest and learn to fly. The mother develops her young by repeatedly pushing them out of the nest and catching them until they become skilled flyers. Eagles were never meant to stay in the nest, and neither were we. The disturber pushes us to learn to fly.
In a lifetime of relationships, perhaps only a handful of people are willing to play this vital role because it requires mutual vulnerability. More popularly known as accountability partners, discerners bring the gift of spiritual insight into our lives. They know how to speak the truth in love. They know how to exhort and rebuke, seeking to keep their friend on the right track. They are also vulnerable—the true friends who will walk into the room of your life while everyone else is walking out.
Proverbs 27:6 reads, “The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.” Always be slow in choosing your discerners and even slower in leaving them.
If you are a typical pastor without close friendships, I urge you to seek them out. They may keep you in ministry for the long haul, and your wife will thank you.