What is a Spiritual Mentor?
The single biggest asset I have in my life is the mentors that believed in me, challenged me, encouraged me, and critiqued me. I am the most stubborn and blinded person I have I ever met, so the presence of mentors is not a luxury. It is a necessity! Without them I would have run off the cliff and suffered greatly. We briefly talked about having spiritual mentors in episode #ec1dot11 of Another Empty Conversation and I want to expand on that concept a little more.
In business, the call to identify career mentors is loud and long. I could not agree more. You need wise people, who you trust, to help you strategize the short, middle, and long-term approach to your career. The same principle is true for your spiritual life. You need mentors to help you guide you through the present season - whether it is a blessed season or a struggling one. You need someone close and trustworthy to help you navigate the present good and the bad.
Beyond the present we do ourselves well to think about the next 3 years of our personal spiritual journey. What is Jesus calling you to become? What does he want you to do? Are there unhealed hurts or deep-rooted habits that need to be addressed? You will need a consistent and persistent partner to work with.
The big picture of life is daunting. You can pick your own metaphor to describe life as you wish, just know that all of them are completely applicable and equally intriguing. That is why long-term mentor relationships are a necessity. Most of your mentors will come and go. They will be appropriate for a season and then you both will move on. But I strongly urge you to find and cultivate one or two long-term (i.e. lifelong) relationships with a spiritual mentor. Some people refer to these relationships as spiritual parents. I like that phrase - though I know that the word “parent” can come with some baggage. The good news is, that you get to select your spiritual parents, but you also have to work hard to cultivate the relationship. It is worthwhile, but where exactly do you start? First off, you need to know what a mentor is.
What is a Spiritual mentor?
Generally speaking, a mentor is the consistent voice that motivates you to pursue the agreed upon goal. The voice of a mentor is encouraging but not hype. It is positive but not unrealistic. It is hopeful, patient, persistent, wise, knowledgeable, and caring. While the voice is not abusive, manipulative, or greedy, it is human. Don’t expect your mentor to be perfect. Oh, and the best mentors are genuinely humble.
Beyond everything else, your Spiritual mentor needs to love Jesus more than anyone else you know. She needs to pray more frequently, serve more diligently, study more voraciously, and love more genuinely than your other alternatives. He has developed his God-given desire to lead and mentor others, but be warned, true mentors rarely advertise themselves as such. You will be directed to them by the Holy Spirit and they are revealed by word-of-mouth.