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Jul
17

You Need a Mentor:: 3

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Yesterday I offered the first three of eight characteristics of a good mentor, based on Paul’s relationship to Timothy. Characteristic number four is that a good mentor will inspire passion. The next two verses say, “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7, NLT). Mentors challenge you to “fan the flames!” They inspire you to find and develop the very thing that gets you excited about life. They challenge you to never quit on your goals and dreams. They help you discover God’s gifts and call upon your life and inspire you to never settle for second best.

The next characteristic is transparency. One of the reasons I appreciate Paul so much is that he was always honest about his own struggles. His example reminded Timothy that mentors are not bullet proof. They are fallible. They are not exempt from challenges and are authentic about their struggles. They are guides, not gods. “So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:8-9, NLT). In short, Paul was reporting that his faithfulness landed him in prison, and that Timothy should understand that he could face the same treatment.

The sixth and final marker that I’ll share today is that mentors are teachers. 2 Timothy 1:10-12a continues, “And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. That is why I am suffering here in prison.” Mentors know what they know, but they also know what they don’t know. But more than conveying facts, they reveal insights that awaken you to your own discoveries. Their primary work is not to answer all of your questions. Sometimes the best work a mentor can provide is the inspiration to simply ask better questions.

Six down, two to go. I’ll finish it up tomorrow.

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