A child is born into a state of complete dependence on others. Ask any parent and they will attest to this fact. Babies rely on someone else to be fed, changed, and carried around because they are born without the ability to do such things on their own. However, as they mature, they will learn how to walk, feed themselves, and go to the bathroom. By nature, they grow increasingly independent until they can live life without the need for parental guidance.
This reality parallels the journey of a believer in Christ. When we first come into a relationship with Him, we have no idea how to live out our Christian life. We all need someone to come along side us to guide us in our walk with God. The rearing of a child largely impacts how that child will grow up and what type of adult he or she will become. The baby Christian is the exact same. Just like babies need parents to guide them, so a new believer needs spiritual mentorship.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14
Mentorship Provides Accountability
Immature Christians can be susceptible to “trickery of men” and “craftiness in deceitful scheming.” In the world, there are many teachings that appear true, only to fall short of God’s Word. Like children, we can be tempted to cling to worldly beliefs as they appeal to our pride.
Many voices shout at us through social media. We receive images and videos of people who claim to know the correct way to live. Every worldview under the sun wants to align our thinking with theirs.
There is a sea of ideas where “every wind of doctrine” blows in all directions as we could be “tossed here and there by waves.” So, in a world of constant noise, how are we supposed to focus on the only true voice? When the seas rage and the lightning roars, who can help us hear the voice that’s telling us to walk upon the waters? We are to compare everything we hear against the standard of the Bible. Without correct guidance and comprehension from a spiritual mentor, we can come to incorrect understandings.
Mentorship Provides Direction for the Christian Life
Just as children are dependent on those who are more mature and have more experience, so too believers are dependent on the mature believers around them. The Lord designed the Christian life to be this way. That is why He places us in a body and bestows on people certain gifts specific to growing individuals within the church.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12
A spiritual mentor can help guide us in the right direction. They have lived the Christian life, and their valuable experience can help our spiritual development. God has chosen to teach them, and through them, God can teach us as well.
Whether theological or practical, mentors can help us sift through the “waves…every wind of doctrine…the trickery of men,” and “craftiness in deceitful scheming.” We don’t have to be “children, tossed here and there,” because God has put in place specific people to help us mature in Him to be equipped for His service.
Practical Steps in Mentorship
The Lord has designed the church like a body so that believers don’t walk this Christian life alone. If you don’t have someone who is pouring into your life on a regular basis, someone to be vulnerable with, someone who can listen to your struggles and encourage you in the Lord, then pray and seek one out.
Find a mentor who is preferably older, with more life experience, who has proven his/her faith and has a close relationship with the Lord. This can be your pastor, youth pastor, an older friend, or parent. It doesn’t even have to be limited to just one either, as Solomon, the wisest man, writes, “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Emily Kurz is a graduate of Ethnos360 Bible Institute. She currently lives in North Carolina, where she is finishing a degree in Secondary English Education. Emily enjoys sports, bungee jumping, reading, and writing, and hopes to one day teach english as a second language in Latin America.