The basic premise of mentoring is to show mentees not just how to do something but also how to be something. Hopefully, during the mentoring season, mentees will have seen some of Jesus in their mentor and be well down the road toward replicating it in their lives.
But the only way this happens is if the mentor is spiritually mature. It’s essential, non-negotiable. But what does that look like? Here are six attributes of spiritual maturity. There are plenty more, but these ones are needed to be a good mentor…
Faith. A mature Jesus-follower has a rock-solid faith in Jesus, is connected to other Jesus-followers, and invests in that community by building up the younger ones. And why? “To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Good-hearted. A mature Jesus-follower has a good heart. As Jesus taught using the parable of the seeds, He described the mature believer, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)
Confident. A mature Jesus-follower who is ready to make disciples has confidence. They’re not cocky, and don’t have all the answers, but they know the God who does and how to find those answers through prayer, wise counsel, and God’s Word. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Colossians 4:12)
Dependent on God. While maturity involves confidence, it’s not self-confidence. A mature Jesus-follower has confidence in a dependable God. “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” (Philippians 3:15)
Wisdom. A mature Jesus-follower has the wisdom of evaluated experience. Wisdom comes from examining our experience, and gaining knowledge and insight we can apply to future situations. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
Perseverance. A mature Jesus-follower has faced challenges and overcome them. To be mature, you must have lived long enough to know that things worth having are worth working for and waiting for. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).
If you read these attributes and know in your heart that all these words describe you, then you’re ready to mentor. Isn’t it cool how God gives us the answers to important questions?
Which brings us to one more point, and maybe the most important one of all when it comes to mentoring.
God is the mentor. Always.
He wants to be the perfect mentor to every single one of His children. As we sit at the feet of older, wiser people, He is loving on us, teaching us, and coaching us.
When we’re doing the same for our mentees, He is doing the work, teaching the lessons, and giving the guidance. It’s all about Him.
Just as we can’t save anyone, we can’t fully mentor anyone either. We love them, pray for them, and give them our best insight and help, but God brings the increase, and thus God gets the credit.
This post was adapted from Mentor Like Jesus: His Radical Approach to Building the Church.
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