Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 16:25 (NLT) There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
Psalm 55:6-9 (NIV) Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Sometimes on your spiritual journey with God you begin to go into places that you have never been before, uncharted territories: some full of blessings and wonderful times of refreshing and others full of turmoil, wondering, and contending. In these times we often feel like what we have and know is not enough, like there is information or resources that could assist us if we only knew what they are or had access to them. There is a desire in the unknown place to have guidance, to have understanding, and clarity beyond what you feel you currently are working with. These conditions are perfect for growing in your relationship with the Lord because it Him that is drawing you to seek Him.
Recently, the church that I connect with did a teaching on “Seeking First the Kingdom of God.” It was full of insight and wisdom that we can apply immediately in our lives. It reminded me of this deep desire that I usually have to be mentored. It seems like I find myself in situations that no one can help me with, thinking things like: “If I only had a mentor, a guide, a person with relevant experience to assist me through what I am facing everything would be sooo much better.” In those times sometimes I do seek counsel or advice from people in my life or who I think would have relevant information. But there are somethings that seeking the Lord (preferably first) is required in order to get the guidance that I need. Depending where you are in your relationship with God, it might take you trying to figure it out on your own before you seek the Lord. If that is where you are, just ask the Lord to help you realize right away when you need to turn things over to Him.
What about the desire to be mentored? Honestly, I think that a desire to be mentored should be put before the Lord to find out if He wants to mentor you via a person in your life, a ministry that you can connect with, books and teachings that are available for purchase or for free, or if He wants to mentor you personally via the Holy Spirit. Pursue the desire to be mentored in prayer and pay attention to what is available to you within reach. More often than not, the Lord will use a combination of methods to mentor you, so try to be sensitive to His leading as you step out into the learning process.
Why the need for mentorship? There is a lot of teaching that says that a person cannot get to their God-given destiny by themselves and that we were designed to be interdependent on each other in order to fulfill Kingdom mandates. I think that this is true, although there are also times of retreat or hiding where it’s just you and the Lord, so it’s up to you seek the Lord and find out what season you are in.
Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both mention the way that seems right to man, but its end is death. When you are entering unknown places (unknown to you, not to God), there will be many options for you to experiment with along your path. Some options will be good, but not God’s best, others will be not good at all, some will cost you more than you are willing to lose, and others are ordained of the Lord. Sometimes the only way to distinguish which option is best for you is to seek the Lord. He will never lead you wrong or guide you to a place where He cannot protect, provide, and release His Presence to you. Some ordained places, or people for that matter, are not going to be your first choice. The options that look new and shiny, that sparkles, and makes cool noises might be the first to capture your attention. So ask God for discernment when you are not sure. Remember that Jesus was the stone that was rejected, but ended up being the chief Cornerstone forever. If you want to reject something immediately ask yourself, and God, why? Is it truly something evil or is it just something that makes you uncomfortable? God leads us in to uncomfortable places sometimes, so that He can reveal His glory and also so you can be a witness that the outcome was all God’s doing. If you stick to the familiar, you may not be ready for the mentorship yet, therefore test what makes you uncomfortable with the Word, in prayer, and let Holy Spirit lead. Who are you listening to? There is so much “positive” and “affirmative” messages out there that it is sometimes easy to just agree with what sounds good. Beware, some of those messages that sound so good are really just feeding the flesh what it wants, and not nourishing the soul and spirit. Once again, test it out against the Word and in prayer, sometimes you can begin to discern the source of the message and the intent.
The Way of the Dragon, Karate Kid, and the Star Wars movies are worldly examples of what mentorship might look like. There are people who mentor professionally regarding career advancement, and people who voluntarily mentor as a way of “giving back”. Some confuse mentorship with apprenticeship, the difference is that all apprenticeships have an element of mentorship involved, but not all mentorships are apprenticeships. Apprenticeships allow the person being mentored to work directly with the mentor, usually in a trade or vocation that involves detailed work. Mentorships often allow for meetings between the mentor and mentee for a time of sharing ideas, experiences, and tips for success. Some mentorships are very personal, while others are group based. When God is leading you in to a time of learning, training, mentorship, or apprenticeship is always a good idea to invite Him into it, even if you feel like He’s the one leading it. It is too tempting to starting going in a direction after being led by Him and to begin to think that we know the way!
What is needed during the time of mentorship? To be honest, I learned a lot of the following by doing things the wrong way, so please take hold of this so that you do not have to learn the hard way like I did.
Humility – It takes something special to realize that you do not know it all and that you need help. Stay humble even if the information you are receiving seems like stuff that you already know. You may have some experience with it, but your mentor(s) may have other keys and revelation that you have not uncovered in your own experiences. Humility also helps you to stay focused on the purpose pf the mentorship, you are there to learn, build relationships, and discover what is unknown about yourself and the area that you are growing into.
Teach-ability – This one is a complement to humility, but it is not the same. It requires a person to sometimes give up an old way of doing something to make room for the new. This is where a lot of people mess up, because if we find something that works, we are taught not to get rid of it. The “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality,” is sometimes hard to let go of, if that paradigm in question is working and producing in your life. Even when it is not producing it can be hard to let go, because you have hopes that it will work. Remember you do not have to always give up everything to learn something new, but you do have to make room for the new ideas and concepts that you are learning. This may involve “stretching or expanding” in your perspective and expectations.
Submission – Mentorship is a process. It is not always just receiving info from a successful person or organization. It will more than likely require homework, introspection, applying what you have learned, figuring out what works and what does not. It will not necessarily be an easy or fun way to spend your time and effort, but it is worth it. Whether you are very self-critical, not self-critical, or somewhere in between it may be hard for you to hear the feedback that your mentor gives you, even if that mentor is Holy Spirit. Be prepared to “dig deep” and remember to communicate when something is not quite matching your needs/situation.
Diligence – Your mentor (even if it is Holy Spirit) may ask you to do things that you do not want to do. They may focus on things that you cannot even believe that they would find important (remember Karate Kid “wax on, wax off”?). You attitude, and effort makes a difference not just for your success, but also in respect to your mentor. The same way a parent can tell when their child is halfheartedly following their directions, so can a mentor determine when a mentee is not fully taking hold of their advice. Whether or not you think it shows in the finished product or not, do not deceive yourself into missing out on the full experience of the mentorship.
Desire – Do you want to be mentored or do you want someone to manage you? Mentors will give advice, suggestions, and share what worked for them but they will not force you to do what they are sharing with you. Taking hold of what they share and applying it is your responsibility not theirs. If you need answers and solutions immediately ask for it, but do not confuse that with being mentored because that is not the same thing. Do you want a mentor or do you want a friend? Even if you like your mentor and your mentor seems to like you, let them establish the boundaries of how personal the relationship will be. They may have a lot on their plate and spending time with you as a friend, even if they genuinely like you, may not be part of their plans. Do you want a mentor or a trainer? If you want someone to give you a proven “system” to work from a trainer or “coach” might be better for you. It still involves some mentorship, but it will possibly be more hands on and give you specific instructions/directives to apply.
Flexibility – Be flexible with your expectation of what mentoring will look like in your life. If the person who is mentoring you is busy, they may not have a lot of time to sit and talk and share, etc. So appreciate what they offer, it may seem like they are not investing a lot, but remember they are in their position of success because of what they invested and the lessons they learned along the way.
While I wish that I could say that I was the perfect mentee, I definitely was not, but what I have learned from the times that I did have the opportunity for mentorship is invaluable and I hope that it adds value to you and your mentorship experiences.
Father God, thank you for this time of seeking You, seeking Your ways, and seeking the Kingdom. Lord thank you for the times of refreshing that accompany the drawing to know You better. Lord thank You for selecting us to participate in Your mentoring program. Help us to be diligent, flexible, teachable, humble, and submitted to this process. Lord we did not always maximize the mentorship opportunities that You made available to us in the past so we ask forgiveness of that, and ask You to help us recognize immediately when You are opening those doors of training to us. Lord we desire to be all that You designed us to be and to be prepared for the seasons ahead so please guide us whale we are being mentored. Lord guide us to the right people, places, and opportunities that will align us with Your perfect will on earth as it is in Heaven. Thank You Lord for removing the fear of the unknown, and any other fears and hindrances that would be in our way. Lord thank You for making us skillful like King David in the areas that you are developing us in. We lift us our leaders, mentors and future leaders and mentors to You Lord and ask You to bless and keep them, to prepare them for us and their other mentors, and to align them with Your plans and purposes in the name of Jesus. Lord we seek solutions for what we will encounter in the unknown and ask that Your Presence will not fade from us in our perception as we move forward. Lord You ways and thoughts are higher than ours, please help us not to lean on our own understanding. Lord please keep us and protect us from the way that seems right to man but leads to death. Lord please course correct us if we are going or being led the wrong way. Lord we thank You and bless You for all that we ask in the Mighty name of Jesus AMEN!
As always, thank you for reading and please share with anyone who you think would find this message useful.