Gospel Mentoring: Part Four – Modeling Gospel Principles
I recently started working out and it was really intimidating to get familiar with the equipment, routine and regimen of the discipline. It didn’t seem to come naturally and it felt really awkward to be learning the basics while many people around me seemed to understand everything clearly and could do it so easily. As my workout went from days to weeks, I began forming relationships with others at the gym. What I realized is that they all started where I was starting and that what seemed so easy to them now was often difficult initially as well, even if it didn’t look like it.
I think our walk with God in Gospel mentoring is really similar. We can find ourselves looking at men and women who have been following God for decades and convince ourselves that they just have some innate ability to grow in God, study His Word, powerfully pray, intentionally fast and all the other things that seem impossible from where we are now. In Gospel mentoring we have to model the reality that these principles are great avenues to learn more about (and ultimately from God), but they don’t come naturally and they don’t come instantly. Sharing and modeling the challenges and process of growth in these areas is far more helpful for a mentoree than just allowing them to think you have always been able to function at the level of connection with God that you currently do and have no weaknesses or areas of needed growth.
Our pride will always make us want to lead as though the principles we practice in our spiritual lives are things we’ve always done and they’ve always been second nature. That’s not honest and it’s not helpful to either party. People don’t relate to our strengths as much as they can connect with us when we share the processes of personal growth through difficult and time-consuming dedication to God and expose His power in us, not our white-knuckled obedience.
Much like my time with God in growth principles, my time at the gym has begun to be fueling for me. What I once dreaded, I’ve started to look forward to as a springboard for my day. It’s still difficult, but the community of people I work out with connect around the challenges of it, not the ease of it. When we model the Gospel in our growth principles and practices (including the challenges of continued faithfulness), it leaves more room for the other person to relate to you and honesty to be reciprocated.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- What are ways that you’ve found most ‘natural’ in connecting with God?
- What are ways that you’ve found most difficult to be consistent in connecting with God?
- How can a mentor lead from their own story of successes and failures in the areas of spiritual disciplines/principles with you?
- What do you want God to grow in you as you pursue Gospel Principles?