01
Oct
06

Meeting A Mentor

In today’s world, mentors are very big. You have to have a mentor to succeed in business. Youth programs are built around providing young men & women with a suitable mentoring figure. The word mentor actually comes from Greek mythology and means a trusted counselor, guide, tutor, or coach.

As a young man, I adopted a friend as a mentor. His name was Curt, and he provided me with an excellent role model to follow as I charted my course as a new believer.


The Apostle Paul met Timothy during his second missionary journey. His father was Greek and his mother a Jewish-Christian, and Timothy was already a believer when he met Paul, through the testimony of his mother and grandmother. He likely replaced John Mark as Paul’s most trusted assistant and traveling companion.
 

 

As a young man, Timothy was not that different from young people today, especially not the ones I come in contact with through ministry. They are looking for role models. The world will only too happily oblige in providing their brand of mentors — individuals who do not uphold the values we have if we’ve trusted Christ. This is an area that I think we in the Christian community haven’t pursued all that aggressively, providing mentors to young believers. That started me on a study in II Timothy, a book I find filled with the wisdom of a strong mentor.


Paul is praying for his young “mentee” (that’s not a word, but in keeping with the theme of mentoring, I’m using it instead of disciple, for after all, we are talking about discipleship here). He prays with a valuable asset; a pure conscience. Your conscience helps you tell between what is morally good and morally bad. It prompts you to do what is good and avoid what is bad. Pure carries the meaning of being sincere, genuine, and free from sin and guilt. So here Paul prays for Timothy with the sinless, genuine confidence that he’s doing what God wants him to do. Do you have someone who prays for you? Is there someone in your life who is older, at least older in the faith, who carries your name before the throne of grace regularly? What an uplift that must have been for the young pastor (Timothy was the pastor of a church in Ephesus when Paul wrote to him)! What a source of strength and comfort when the cares of the day (and the cares and pressures of leadership, in the case of Timothy) come crashing down around us, to have someone we know and respect praying for us.
 

 

As I mentioned before, Timothy’s mother and grandmother led him to trust Christ. Paul reminds Timothy of the legacy his mother and grandmother have bestowed upon him: his faith. They were concerned enough for Timothy’s future to take intentional effort to share Christ with him as a child. They were role models of believers in Timothy’s day-to-day life. Paul is acknowledging the faith of Timothy’s relatives as well as the fruit of their faith, as manifest in Timothy. As believers we should be concern over and, if possible, lead our loved ones to trust Jesus Christ. That’s not the easiest thing to do. I tried with both my parents, with no apparent success, but still I was called to try. Who in your life do you pray will trust Christ? Maybe it’s a parent, a child, a brother, sister or even a spouse. God calls us to share the gift that is within us. We’re not responsible for the harvest per se, but we are called to plant the seeds. This farming metaphor comes back up later in Paul’s letter.

Why do teachers give quizzes on things you’ve already learned? To remind you of what you know. Paul reminds Timothy to stir up a gift God has given him. This stirring up means to keep something, like a fire, alive, preventing it from growing cold from disuse. Some believe Paul was referencing Timothy’s gift for preaching, teaching, and evangelizing which he may have allowed to get rusty. God is a gracious and generous giver of many gifts He wants us to use in furthering His kingdom. What has God equipped you to do that you’re letting lie cold and unused? Are you ignoring a special ability God has placed in you because you’re fearful?

Paul reinforces for Timothy what God has not given us: a spirit of fear. By that, Paul is describing a shameful, cowardly, weak and selfish character. Roman persecution, resentment, and false teachers were no doubt overwhelming Timothy. As a young pastor, he probably didn’t have a lot of confidence in his skills when it came to confronting persecution or refuting error. Often that’s how we act when confronted with attacks on Christians or Christianity. We lack the skill of the adversary, and rather than say or do something that will only get us into trouble, we remain silent, leaving attacks unanswered. But God did not design us to fear such things. We are each called to do great things for God and His glory! What is it you fear? What causes you to remain silent when God would have you speak forcefully?

I have often seen young men, coming out of seminary, ready to take on their life’s calling to pastor a flock and then get sent reeling when persecution or confrontation comes their way, from within their own flock. They are faced with the cold hard reality that God’s people are sometimes the pastor’s enemies. Paul wisely knew this, and as any good mentor will do, he is reminding Timothy of the provision, the education, that God has provided him that will help him resolve such issue, to God’s glory. What God did give us was a three-fold, not so secret weapon: Power, Love and a Sound Mind. Power is simply the spiritual energy to endure: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9). Love focuses on pleasing God and seeking the welfare of others’ before our own: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4). A sound mind is one that is disciplined and possessed of a self-controlled thought-life that orders things according to God’s Will and Word “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).


As a mentor, one is not perfect or without flaw. Paul certainly wasn’t and neither was my mentor. I am not a perfect example for anyone I disciple. Paul was in jail when he wrote this letter (though through no fault of his own). There were many stories told about why he was there. Timothy’s enemies were only too ready to malign Timothy’s character to gain an advantage over him. If he was such good friends with Paul, and Paul obviously did something wrong to land him self in prison, then what must we think of his young protégé? Whenever a believer is perceived to fall, the world immediately tends to think the worst. Often, we in the church tend to get caught up in that wave as well. Paul didn’t want Timothy to be ashamed of being associated with him or Jesus Christ. Are you ever ashamed of being a Christian? Does that shame put you in a kind of spiritual paralysis? That’s the strategy of the enemy; dilute and weaken the impact of Christ in the life of a believer and half the battle is won. For a marvelously entertaining and enlightening account of this tactic read C. S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters.”
 

 

Being ashamed is the same as having a spirit of fear. We are not made for shame but to give God glory and to lead others to trust Jesus Christ as Savior. We as Christians need to find more mentors for our young believers. In many cases, we need to step up, regardless of our age, and be a mentor to someone Christ has brought into our lives. Who would He have you mentor for His glory? Posted by Picasa

Read II Timothy 1:8
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God…

 

Read II Timothy 1:3-7
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

Read Acts 16:1–3
Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.

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