By Allyson Holland, Crosswalk.com
“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:8, NLT
Do you have someone in your life who is always there for you? Someone you can depend on as a consistent figure in your day-to-day circumstances? Just as God is always ready to listen and give wise counsel, do you have a person you can count on to be loyal and available when you need them the most?
Being a mentor and having a mentee is one of the most spiritually satisfying ways of serving God and His children. The primary goal is to build a trusting relationship between two people: a spiritual person more mature in life experiences, and a person with fewer years or maturity in life. More importantly, both believers desire to bring glory to the name of God through the relationship.
Open Your Heart, Relying on God
Being a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean you are spiritually more mature than your mentee. It means you are willing to open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit to use your God-given wisdom and life experiences to speak truth into the life of another person. In addition, you recognize that God has brought the two of you together to form this special relationship.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” — John 14:26
Allow God to Develop Your Character
When seeking a mentor, many people look for specific qualities or characteristics that may enhance mentoring relationships. My friend Marissa thinks good listening skills are an important quality for a mentor to possess. Someone who listens more than they speak validates what the mentee has to say.
Some of these character qualities can be gleaned in many of the “One Another” passages in the Bible. Those I’m listing below are the ones that affect the mentoring relationship most. More than anything, these verses help motivate the mentor to model behavior consistent with Scripture.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another . . .” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Carry each other’s burdens . . .” (Galatians 6:2)
“Serve one another in love . . .” (Galatians 5:13)
“Encourage one another daily . . .” (Hebrews 3:13)
“Build each other up . . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“Pray for each other . . .” (James 5:16)
“Live in harmony with one another . . .” (I Peter 3:8 and Romans 12:16)
“Spur one another on towards love and good deeds . . .” (Hebrews 10:24)
“Honor one another above yourselves . . .” (Romans 12:10)
“Be patient, bearing with one another in love . . .” (Ephesians 4:2)
“Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another . . .” (Colossians 3:13)
Many mentors (and in time, mentees) may want to know and even memorize passages like these, keeping God’s direction for living at the forefront and relying on Him to mold and enrich their character.
Infuse Your Sharing with Confidentiality
When looking for a mentor whom they can confide in, a mentee will often intuitively seek someone who models confidentiality well.
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” — Philippians 4:9, NLT
One mentee shares that she is an open book with people since she accepted Christ. She finds it a freeing experience to share with those who are pouring God’s truth into her heart and mind. She trusts those believers around her and offers and receives confidential information in her sharing. Yet, in all this, she still maintains discretion, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide her words. The presence of the Holy Spirit gives her direction when she is going to share something confidential. She is prompted to speak openly yet still maintains a level of prudence and good judgment.
Some people are so broken that they are fearful of sharing anything that might reveal their lives before Jesus saved them. This was not the case with this mentee. Jesus removed her fear, and now her testimony goes before her.
To develop a close-knit relationship, it proves imperative that confidentiality is established from the beginning. True confidentiality produces an open, honest friendship based on trust and love.
Draw Upon Your Spiritual Gifts
In addition, when mentors understand their own spiritual gifts and how these gifts are used to serve and minister to others in the body of Christ, they are drawing upon a valuable tool. Spiritual gifts are received at the point of conversion. Their purpose is to benefit the children of God and the church. When a mentor understands God’s purpose for spiritual gifts as well as their own gifting, they are able to then help their mentee work through their own gifting as well.
None of us possess all the spiritual gifts that are available. That’s why we need each other. Developing new gifts over time is evidence of spiritual growth.
“Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, I am not part of the body because I am not a hand, that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, I am not part of the body because I am not an eye, would that make it any less part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our body has many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it only had one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.” — 1 Corinthians 12:14-20, NLT
What you have come to know about yourself regarding spiritual gifts is a significant internal resource that influences and strengthens your mentoring responsibility.
Ask God to Direct Your Steps
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. —Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT
Choosing a spiritual mentor can be intimidating. Developing a relationship with your mentee can be as well. But neither has to be that way. Whether you are seeking a mentor or mentee, ask God to direct your steps. Share your heart with Him.
For a mentee, one thing He might impress upon you is to look for a kind, warm-hearted person who loves Jesus. A person like this is committed to the relationship and exudes their knowledge and wisdom.
For a mentor, you may simply need to open your heart to this opportunity and seek the Holy Spirit’s direction. Then, continue to rely on God’s help as you build into your mentee with encouragement and the hope, joy, and truth found in God’s Word. Celebrate with your mentee all that God continues to teach you both, and revel in His goodness together.
God has someone for you, and that someone is good.
“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.” —James 1:17, NLT
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jack Sharp
Allyson Holland is a lifestyle blogger. She has written for The Mighty.com, Publishous.com, PublishousNow.com, Medium.com, The Assent.com, and Bible.org. Married for 33 years, she and her husband, John, enjoy spending time with their five adult children and serving together as leaders of the marriage ministry Re-Engage. They recently moved from the Dallas area to enjoy country living southeast of Dallas on Cedar Creek Lake, and they attend Lake Community Fellowship in Athens, Texas. Suffering from the chronic disease RSD/CRPS, Ally is passionate about God’s redemptive work in the lives of those who suffer with physical and emotional pain. She is a former Director of Ministry to Women and former board member for Thrive Ministry. You can connect with Ally on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.