Do you have a person in your life that you share everything with? I mean EVERYTHING. All those little details of life you would never tell anyone else. Does that person push you to be better? Do they hold you accountable when you are wrong? Do they encourage you to pray and do they pray for you? Does that person push you to love Jesus more?
I’ve been blessed during the course of my life to have had a few mentors that I have adored. They built into me and grew me and pushed me in ways that were good but uncomfortable. Sadly, various seasons of life have dictated many of those relationships. But, I’m thankful that I have a church community and friends and family around me that have held me accountable, loved me unconditionally, and show me Jesus on a regular basis.
Why is the Biblical community so important? More importantly, what are the qualifications of a spiritual mentor?
One of the best examples of spiritual mentoring can be found in the life of Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah’s prophetic life was marked as one who pointed out sin and then brought down the Lord’s judgement on unrepentant people. While he welded great power from the Lord, he was by no means a liked person among the general people. In fact, in the eyes of the people, Elijah would never have been worthy of being followed; he was not worldly successful, likable, wealthy, or powerful. But scripture makes it clear that when God calls his people to invest in others in a Godly mentorship, his qualifications are very different from the world’s. Mentoring is not about simply imparting knowledge but investing in the spiritual growth of another. And let’s not forget the fact that when the Lord commanded Elijah to invest in the life of Elisha he was “less than wholehearted” initially, according to the ESV Study Bible. (1 Kings 19:19-21) Yet, he obeyed. (A good lesson for those who are being called to invest in the life of someone else. It will take time, energy, discipline and a dedication to both the Lord and that mentee.)
We are commanded
As believers we are called to invest in the lives of others, specifically to show them the love of Christ and to provide accountability and encouragement. This is the purpose of a mentor, and in doing so it sharpens the mentee’s ability to handle challenges. I can vouch for the fact that in my own life I was able to get through and deal with trials in my life much better with the love and support and wisdom of that mentor.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as. You see the Day drawing near.”
(Hebrews 10: 24-25)
Marked by Dedication
Elisha didn’t settle for what was easy or comfortable, even when Elijah gave him the chance. He demonstrated a great amount of service and dedication to Elijah by continuing with him on the entire journey. It took time and energy. In the end Elisha proves himself worthy of the calling of being successor by being present and witnessing Elijah being called up into heaven. (2 Kings 2:1-8)
Marked by Love
It is clear in the passage that Elisha is saddened by the upcoming departure of his spiritual father, and then experiences a great amount of grief after he witnesses Elijah being swept up to heaven. 2 Kings 2:9-14)
The relationships the Lord wants you to develop may not promote you, educate you, increase your wealth, or be easy. But, if you are called to invest in someone spiritually or if you are needing someone to instill wisdom in your life, ask yourself, “Lord, what would you have me do?” We are commanded to spiritually participate in the lives of others and for those relationships to be marked by dedication and love.