Training for godliness-Needing a mentor
If you wanted to train for a marathon you would undoubtedly work with a coach. Whether you paid the coach or not, you would want a coach with experience if you could get one. You would look for someone who has run a marathon perhaps or someone who has dedicated their life to training for these grueling endeavors. A friend of mine who has run several marathons reminds me that a marathon is not 26 miles. It is 26 POINT TWO miles and she puts a heavy emphasis on the POINT TWO! If you are going to train, train to finish!
The need for a mentor!
Having a mentor, older Christian, good example to follow, or someone who inspires and motivates you is an essential part of our Christian walk but also of our training to be more godly. Whatever you do, don’t pick someone who lives as the world does. Paul said:
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:9 ESV)
Before that he had said:
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Php 3:17 ESV)
In other words, follow the good example of those who are living the godly life now. It is the champions and the people doing it that we should strive to imitate.
Jesus as a mentor!
Jesus spent three years with his disciples showing them example after example of what it was to be God-like, to follow the Father’s will (as opposed to your own) and how to serve others. One of the greatest examples, while he was still with them (though the cross is by far the greatest), is recorded in John’s Gospel:
During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (Joh 13:2-5 ESV)
The lesson taught by Jesus was that HE as Lord served so they should serve. It is a great inspiration to us and helps for us to know how far he meant us to go. “What? To our enemies”, we ask? Jesus’ response is two-fold:
First, he washed all the disciples feet-even those of Judas who, at this time, was determined to betray him. Second, Does the Scripture not say we were enemies of God?
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; (Rom 5:10 ESV)
No one ever said training for a marathon was easy, neither should we say training for godliness is easy!
What we can learn from a mentor!
Mentors abound for us to learn from, those who are godly men and women in our congregation and those who we can read about in the Scripture. Hebrews 11 is a whole chapter that lists, by name, many of those who have run the race and finished it. We are training to follow their lead.
There are two things we will learn from our mentors, both living and dead.
First, they are not perfect and they can mess up royally sometimes. David broke almost all 10 of the commandments in one short event. (Quite a feat but not worthy to imitate). However, knowing that they are not perfect, keeps us from idolize them and concluding that we can never be “as good as they were.” We now know they were not perfect and God accepted them, so he will accept us with our imperfections.
Second, their advice and understanding can keep us from making some huge mistakes and help us to make wise choices. When training for a marathon, it would be silly to stay up till 2 a.m. for a 7 a.m. race. That is a poor training choice. While it might seem a simple and common sense thing, some people need to be told that.
Similarly, it is not a good idea to be casually flipping through T.V. channels at 2 a.m either, especially if you have a set of cable movie channels. That is a poor training choice for godliness.
Having a mentor and learning from them will help you in your efforts to train properly.
How have you seen mentors help others live a more godly life?!
photo by: Andrew Yee