Mentoring Like Jesus Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at Jesus as our primary example on effective methods of mentoring and discipleship. Our first and primary responsibility is to be like Christ. But our second responsibility flows from the very fact that we aren’t. Unlike Christ, we are sinners with a fallen nature. Therefore we must always …

Pursue Wisdom

Proverbs 2 1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 4 (KJV) 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

We are not inherently wise and are dependent upon Christ and His Word to grow us in wisdom. What is our part in this growth? In a word, theology.

Proverbs 9 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Theology, in its most basic sense, is simply the study of God. We must pursue knowledge of God—not head knowledge alone (big words that puff up our pride), but knowledge of His desires, His character, and His Word that we might understand how He wishes us to respond in life’s circumstances. Our study of God should lead to an awesome reverence for His Word and His power and a trust in His sovereignty and His wisdom, which all play out practically into daily living characterized by wisdom and understanding.

Note that the principles to Be Like Christ and Pursue Wisdom are not specific to either the one who disciples others or the one who wants to be discipled. All of us are to pursue these goals. This leads to my final big principle.

It’s Cyclical.

Unlike Christ, none of us will reach a point in which we no longer need to be discipled (trained in righteousness).

1 Corinthians 11 1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Philippians 4 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

2 Timothy 2 2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Beware of the guy or gal who has stopped welcoming others to speak into his or her life. As Paul learned of Christ, he taught Timothy. As Timothy learned of Paul, he taught others. Then those unnamed students of Timothy discipled still others. This cycle is to continue until Christ’s return. Even as mature believers are pouring themselves into your life, you too are called to commit those things you are learning to the next guy. We never get to either stop learning from those who have come before us or stop training those who come next. The best quality to look for in a teacher/mentor/discipler is a humility that accepts wisdom from others.

Conclusion

We need someone to speak wisdom into our lives, and we also desire to speak wisdom into the lives of others. What practically do we do from here? This may seem like odd advice, but I encourage you simply to SERVE. The Master Discipler, Jesus Christ, gives us this example. He did not grasp His rights as God, but He made Himself of no reputation, humbled Himself, and served His way into the hearts and lives of those He discipled (Phil. 2). There are hundreds of opportunities for service in the local and global church, and at each service opportunity, there are many men and women longing for someone to speak into their lives. Through faithful service, you will meet brothers and sisters in Christ, earning the right to disciple them by serving alongside them in the trenches, modeling before them servant leadership.

I’ve been a part of mentoring programs at various churches. My experience is that, despite the best efforts, they are woefully inadequate for real discipleship. I’m not against such programs at all, but I do want to emphasize that authentic discipleship requires long-term investment and patient nurturing of relationship. We can’t control what the Spirit does in hearts or which hearts He chooses to knit together with ours. We can’t make it happen. However, when we abide in Him and get a vision for His example, we can rest assured that we will bear much fruit and that fruit will last long term (John 15).

Leadership begins with servitude, so volunteer to clean that toilet, change that dirty diaper, or baby-sit at community group. Then open your life to your coworker in ministry. That is the kind of servant leadership to which we are called. God will bring across your path that one who is looking for someone to speak into their lives. Our job is then to be ready to welcome this one into our lives—prepared to speak truth, love, and bear long for the glory of God and the beauty of His Body.

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