One of the best pieces of advice that I have received was to find a spiritual mentor, someone to study God’s Word with me, hold me accountable, and be the voice of wisdom when my own was lacking. I say this as an independent person who loves the feeling of accomplishment that comes from standing on my own two feet. So, it took me a little while to act upon that advice, but I wound up being so grateful that I did.
If you’re anything like me, maybe you wonder why having a spiritual mentor is important. Maybe you have a picture of Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid stuck in your head, and you wonder what a “spiritual” mentor even is. (Does it involve the whole “wax on, wax off” thing?)
Well, I’m so glad you asked!
What is a spiritual mentor?
A spiritual mentor is someone who is simply a little bit farther along in their journey of following Christ. This person will allow you to walk alongside them and learn from their example, and they will offer Biblical advice, wisdom, and encouragement in the Lord.
Why should I seek out a mentor?
Standing alone as a Christian is a dangerous place to be. The world loves to throw a barrage of half-truths and deceptive philosophies at us. This is particularly true on school campuses. It’s not always easy to sift out the truths from the lies, especially if we are on our own.
Alone, we tend to rely upon our own strength instead of upon God’s strength. Alone, it’s far easier for us to give into temptation and think that we can hide our sin. And alone, we are more vulnerable to lies.
God intends for Christians to dwell in community as a part of the body of Christ. This doesn’t mean that we have to all live in a compound somewhere. (In fact, that’s 100% not what it means.) But it does mean that more mature believers should come alongside less mature believers and use their gifts to encourage, strength, and grow them as they all follow Jesus Christ. A great way for that to happen is through godly mentor-ship!
When should I find a mentor?
Honestly, I don’t think it is ever too early to seek out more mature believers to encourage us in our faith! But it can be especially important when nearing the end of high school or heading off to college. Being rooted in the truth is so important when we step onto the college campus so that we can always compare the things that we are taught to God’s Word.
What should I look for in a mentor?
It’s important that the people that we ask to speak into our lives are worthy of the request, so here are some questions to ask when looking for someone to serve as a spiritual mentor:
1) Are they following Christ whole-heartedly?
You want a mentor who will set an example that you can follow. That’s not to say that your mentor has to be perfect—because, let’s be real, no one is. But you want someone who will consistently exhibit humility and Christ-likeness. Half of the lessons that you will learn from your mentor will be from simply watching how they react to the many obstacles that life throws their way. Look for someone who is intentionally studying God’s Word and active in church and ministry.
2) Are they more mature in their faith?
It’s important that your mentor is farther along in their walk with Christ than you are. Most of the time this maturity will come with age. A mentor who is too close to your age might make a good friend but will lack the experience to come alongside and offer advice.
3) Are they encouraging?
One of the purposes of mentor-ship is to build up and strengthen. A lot of times, we look at “encouraging” as speaking happy, feel-good words, when the real meaning of “encourage” is to provide confidence and boldness. A good mentor will help you to gain confidence and boldness in your walk with Christ.
4) Will they take a stand upon the truth?
Encouragement that is not based in truth means nothing. You want a mentor who will not be afraid to call you out when you are in danger of wandering off track. Always, always, your mentor should point you back to God’s Word.
These are a few things to consider while looking for someone to encourage you in your walk with Christ. I am so grateful for the mentors who have poured into me over the years and now want to have the opportunity to do the same for others!
Has anyone ever encouraged you to seek a spiritual mentor?