Everyone struggles in this life. Jesus said it would be that way:
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Scripture tells us that it was for freedom that Christ came (Galatians 5:1, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18)…but freedom is not free.
- Freedom cost the Father the pain of watching His Son suffer.
- Freedom cost Jesus the pain of rejection by His own, physical suffering and he shame of death on the Cross.
- Freedom costs us the discipline of surrender; it requires that we be willing to lay down our desires and do His will. We call it dying to ourselves. We can’t do it without the Holy Spirit–and we can’t do it alone.
Sometimes the cost feels too great; our trust is too small to get us through to surrender. Other times the enemy of our souls, Satan, obscures and confounds the message of freedom. Fear, blindness and hopelessness keep us from the life God desires for us.
The fight for freedom–the fight for the abundant life Christ came to give us–demands relationship with others. We are designed for one another and grow best in the context of relationships. Pursuing discipleship with other believers is key to the health of the Body–corporately and individually. It is not a sign of weakness or ill-health to seek help for struggles in life; it is a sign of a desire to live fully!
What things keep Christians from walking in freedom?
- Hurts that breed resentment and unforgive-ness happen in every life.
- Truths that get stuck in our head and can’t find their way to our heart (or our feet) are part of the human experience.
- A lack of confident understanding about the authority of one who is in Christ and/or the skills to use that authority.
The life of faith—the life of freedom—is one of continual growth. God created us to need one another. Those who engage in mentoring relationships minister to those who mentor. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. It is a beautiful time of living faith and seeking to understand how the living Word applies to the life we are living.
Why would someone seek a mentor?
Those who are willing to face challenges and ask ‘why?’ seek to be discipled. They are the individuals strong enough to believe that God has promised abundant life…individuals willing to seek the face of God. Faith that demonstrates such courage inspires others.
In the Old Testament, most of God’s children told Moses—‘you talk to God and tell us what He says.’ God is not interested in second-hand conversations, but learning to hear His voice takes time. Mentors help tune ears and fix eyes on the ways of God. Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach the throne of grace with boldness to obtain mercy and receive grace.
Is a mentor just a friend?
A friend can be a mentor, but often friends do not want to ask the hard questions. Mentors have to be willing to make you a bit uncomfortable. We don’t grow best in our comfort zones. Friends are important, but friends often find comfort in keeping us where we are at. Mentors focusing on helping us grow.
How do I find a mentor or form a discipling relationship?
- The place to begin is your church. Ask God top reveal to you who would be a good person to help you grow spiritually. Speak with your pastor or a member of the leadership team about your desire. Then, simply share with that person your desire and see if a plan can be set up. Discipling requires discipline and commitment. If the first person you ask is unable to make the commitment, keep looking!
- Some churches (like my own) have ministry teams who schedule appointments for those interested in discipleship. I would love to share information on how this began and ways to do the same in your community.
- Use the internet. There are many websites like this one, and many individuals like myself who offer discipleship coaching or classes for a fee as a way to continue ministering at large.
- Begin a Bible Study with a friend and serve as accountability partners. I have some favorites, I would be glad to recommend if you don’t know of one you’d like to do.
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:29
God has great plans for us! The Holy Spirit superintends our growth. He guides us in the desire to grow in grace and knowledge as Jesus did. Enjoy the journey!