Mentoring. Are you a mentor? Do you have a mentor? Today, I’m thinking all about mentoring lessons I have learned. Let’s start in Titus 2, the classic biblical passage on mentoring.
3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good.
4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children,
5 to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. Titus 2: 3-5 (NLT)
The Lord has given me the distinct privilege of entering into mentoring relationships with several young women. Each of these precious women bless me in unique ways. It is through these relationships that I realize I am the ‘older woman’. Flitter, I am old enough to be a mother to the girls. May I let you in on a little secret? If you are one or two steps ahead of someone else in your Christian walk, then you, too, are an ‘older woman’.
I still sometimes wonder why in the world the Lord would allow me the privilege of walking with these young women? I, of all people, have blown it over and over. When I was their ages I was making one poor choice after another, in spite of being raised in a Christian home.
Why would the Lord allow me to speak into the lives of these beautiful women? One reason that has become very clear to me is that in some measure, I have learned that if I’ve blown it, I need to own it. The world is looking for authenticity. There are too many Christians walking around the dusty sod of earth looking like they are just happy all the time. I know better than that. No one gets it right all the time. No one. So, when I mess up, I’ve learned the best thing is to admit it, learn from it, and be willing to share what I’ve learned when God gives me opportunity. Please understand, I’m not seeking to glorify my sin, but rather to focus on how the Lord loves me and moves in to clean up my messes so He can use me.
In my early years of ministry I was focused on women in general. I believed, and still do, that women are the primary focus of the ministry God has called me to. However, it was not until I read David Kinnaman’s book entitled ‘unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters’ that I was able to narrow my ministry focus.
As I look at Titus 2: 3-5 I find several things that correlate with the ideas I gleaned from Kinnaman’s book:
- I learned that ‘to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord’, I needed to learn what the Lord desired. It was imperative that I learned to see and love others with the heart of Jesus. That was HUGE for me!!
- I ‘must not go around speaking evil of others’. This very much includes those who look, act, and believe differently from me. I had to learn to see everyone through the eyes of Jesus. In doing so, my heart has been softened and I have had the incredible opportunity to enter into dialogue with people whom I would not otherwise have connected.
- My responsibility is to ‘teach others what is good’. In order to be able to teach others what is good, I had to know what Jesus calls ‘good’ and what He calls ‘bad’, which means I had to dig deeply into the Word in order to know my Savior’s heart. Once again, loving like Jesus loves is key. I must allow the Holy Spirit to lead me and speak through me, never abandoning my convictions, but speaking the truth in love and honesty.
- As I seek to ‘live wisely and be pure’ through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can teach young women how to do the same, using examples of my own poor choices to encourage them to make better choices.
- ‘Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.’ The opposite of bringing shame on the Word of God is glorifying the Word of God. My heart’s desire is to illuminate the Word of God and the God of the Word and encourage young women (and men) to pursue Jesus, and only Jesus.
Has God put young people in your life? If so, you have an obligation to do these very same things. …to mentor them in living the Christ-life. Perhaps you are already mentoring a young person. I’d love to hear about that relationship. Have you ever had a mentor yourself? Tell me about them.