We are continuing our mentoring series with the topic “Mentor for Hope.”
One of my mentors recently emailed me about a public confession she made indicating the countless hours she spent in prayer and Bible study. I guess she was concerned that the statement would come across as self-righteous or prideful. I can’t be too sure but I responded to inform her that people need to see and hear about folks who are committed to basic spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible study.
She is not the kind of woman who spends her life pinned up in a room for quiet time. However, the time she spends in this devotion informs everything else she does like being a care-giver, loving wife, serving her church and community, investing in the next generation, and being a generous giver.
Every day, I watch and hear about Christians living defeated lives. So often they walk in defeat because they don’t know who God is, they have not affirmed their identity in Christ, and they don’t know what tools to grab hold of when the enemy comes knocking at their door. It is hard, if not impossible, to remain hopeful if you constantly feel defeated.
Defeat comes when we don’t truly know who God is or who we are. That is why we need to renew our minds, and this is why practicing spiritual disciplines is important.
Many professing Christians don’t even know the basic fundamentals or beliefs of the Christian faith. This burden is what prompted the teaching of Lesson V in the #Mentor4Life Leader’s Training Manual. I don’t want people to lose sight of the big picture, or to forget about the Hope we have in the gospel, and the Hope we have in Christ.
The purpose of this lesson is to articulate the essentials of the Christian faith, and for mentors and mentees to apply the Word of God to the essential denominational doctrines, teachings of their local church, and how that applies to their daily life.
Scripture Reference and Review: 1 Peter 3:15-18 and Romans 5:1-5.
In spite of what is happening in our daily lives, we must know that God does not waste anything. God is not forgetful or passive. God has a purpose for everything that he does or allows in this life. God will use our life experiences to shape our character, to refine us and make us more like his son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29).
Are you hopeful? How do we mentor for hope?
One way we “Mentor for Hope” is simply by keeping the right perspective. God is at work. God is with us. God is in us. And God has invited us to join in his work. That’s why I continuously remind readers of the kingdom definition of mentoring:
Mentoring is a trusted partnership where people share wisdom that fosters spiritual growth and leads to transformation, as mentors and mentees grow in their love of Christ, knowledge of self, and love of others.
The truth is that God is still in charge, and he is still in the transforming business. He is love. When we open ourselves up to receive that love, we grow in our love for him and in our love for others. This knowing is fundamental and it can shape every part of our being.
There are a couple practical ways we can “Mentor for Hope:”
- Embrace our identity in Christ. When we see Christ for who he is, we can see ourselves for who we are, and understand that each of our lives has purpose.
- Practice the spiritual disciplines that sustain our faith.
I know that mentioning the practice of spiritual disciplines sounds demanding. I also understand that many people only pursue spiritual disciplines grudgingly, and that is partially because people don’t like discipline or correction. It is also because in times past and present, religious or self-righteous people have often made the practice of spiritual disciplines a burden—an idol of outward acts or performance held up to gain the approval of God or others.
However, this is not the right perspective concerning spiritual disciplines. In fact, the desire is not for outward performance but rather for inward heart change. As I have written:
[Spiritual disciplines] are a means of God’s grace meant to set us free from our own bondage and self-absorption. Spiritual disciplines invite us into the Lord’s presence to embrace our true selves so we can live authentically and love others well. They are a means of discipline for our minds and for our souls.
Spiritual disciplines [also] help us recognize our spiritual poverty and desperate need for God.
In #Mentor4Life Chapters 7-8, I address the mentoring commitment to a disciplined life. There, I write about the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and Bible study, pursuing justice, prayer, fasting, journaling, and retreat. In Chapter 5 entitled, “Presence with God,” I write about the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude.
This is not an exhaustive list of spiritual disciplines, and not all spiritual disciplines will work for everyone. For example, I am a justice advocate and have a burden for reconciliation in the church and for all creation. It is easy for me to see what is wrong in the world, and my first response is to do something about it. However, I am not God. I am not the Savior of the world or Mrs. Fix-it. So, some of the spiritual disciplines I practice is learning to pause, rest, celebrate or play.
The point is that we all need ways in which we are actually attentive to the hear God speak, and gain the wisdom and understanding so we can courageously live and lead on purpose to the glory of God.
Spiritual disciplines also help to renew our minds. In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul writes:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
God does want to change our minds, and one of the ways that he does that is through the practice of spiritual disciplines.
How does the Leader’s Training Manuel help me Mentor for Hope?
This lesson includes a spiritual growth lesson and handout, including scripture passages, to teach and discuss fundamentals like:
Adoption, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification.
It allows includes teaching about the identity of Christ (who he is and what he has done), and how that truth informed who we are in Christ.
You can always follow the mentoring conversation using the #Mentor4Life hashtag on social media (Twitter @asistasjourney and http://www.Facebook.com/NatashaSistrunkRobinson).
The Leader’s Training Manual and accompanying videos are designed to accompany the Mentor for Life book, and it can be used as a tool for training mentors and developing a mentoring leadership team. This resource is often made available for free or discount for those who book Natasha to speak, or those who receive leadership training and mentoring coaching from Natasha. Natasha will also make an electronic version of this document available to those who email and show proof of purchase for 5 or more Mentor for Life books.
If you leave comments, I will attempt to answer the questions throughout the series, or follow the series with specific blog posts to address your questions.
Check out Natasha’s official website, www.natashaSrobinson.com, to receive free downloadable tools, recommended resources, request Natasha to speak, or to receive leadership training or mentoring coaching.