How Mentorship Will Take You Where You Could Never Go Alone

By: Paige Smith

Few things are more pivotal to our success than mentorship. We see the fruit of it all around us but we often don’t recognize it. If you have ever seen anyone great, there is a high chance they were discipled or mentored.

Mentorship is defined as “a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.”

Consider these commonplace examples of mentorship or discipleship:

Every sports team always has a coach. Every student has a teacher. If a child is struggling in a certain subject, they are often encouraged to find a tutor in that area to get the one on one help they need to improve.

If you become ill, you would more than likely go to a doctor to seek his or her medical expertise. If your car breaks down, you would go to a mechanic to have them inspect whatever has gone awry. Similarly, if you are struggling financially, you would find an accountant or financial advisor to offer fiscal solutions. If you were interested in losing excess weight gain, you might go to a personal trainer to help get the individual coaching needed to reach your fitness goals.

None of these actions may carry the label “discipleship” or even mentorship, but each of these very practical every day examples all perfectly model it.

It is clear then that our society prioritizes discipleship, yet why doesn’t this translate to our personal lives?

We enthusiastically seek help and advice for our cars, health, weight, academics, finances, yet often shy away from seeking counsel on the deeper issues of life such as our spiritual state, our major life decisions, our marriage and families. We have to remember “where no counsel is, the people fail: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14).

Whatever areas in our life are being hidden away from the light of discipleship and accountability, these are the areas most in danger right now.

Many cringe at the words “discipleship” and “accountability” but they are both truly tools that God has created to keep us, help us be victorious in every area, and honor those that have gone before us.

Many cringe at the words “discipleship” and “accountability” but they are both truly tools that God has created to keep us, help us be victorious in every area, and honor those that have gone before us.  The lie of independence says that we can do it on our own but don’t be deceived.  Attempting to accomplish everything by ourselves with no help, support, or guidance is not ambitious, but prideful.  Pride always comes before a fall.

For the sake of your family, your marriage, your children, the dreams in your heart you may not know how to navigate, find a mentor/ discipler.  Find someone more “knowledgable” and more “experienced” than you and submit these major areas to them for counsel.

I have not been perfect as a mentee or disciple but I have been able to enjoy a loving growing marriage, emotional and practical support as a new mom, and wise counsel as a recent graduate because I have kept the lines of communication open with my mentors when it mattered most.  There is nothing more assuring than receiving sound godly counsel for a situation that is simply over your head.

God set up discipleship for our edification!  In other words, to make us better individuals. It would seem simpler to research, Pinterest, and google all our problems away but God is much more interested in the relationship that is cultivated through authentic, open discipleship than the quick easy fix of finding the answer on our own.

It will take some vulnerability, you may get hurt along the way, and there may–for some of us this is the most terrifying–be a few awkward moments.  But what a small price to pay to enter into a rich, deep discipleship relationship that will potentially save you from years of mistakes, heartache, and failure.

Let’s take from Ruth’s example.  She was a beautiful young woman who even in her youth understood the value of discipleship.  When her husband passed away she had the option of ending her mentorship relationship with her mother in law, Naomi, and go back to her homeland.

Instead she chose to continue building her discipleship relationship.  Her sister in law, Orpah, did not esteem her mother in law as highly.  This is evident because when they were both asked to leave, “Orpah kissed her mother in law, but Ruth clung to her” (Ruth 1:14).

Are you clinging to your discipler today in love and humility knowing you can’t go through life without them?  Or are you willing to kiss them (show surface affection or the pretense of relationship) without really going any deeper?

Let’s choose today to be like Ruth.  Whether we are young, old, male, or female, we can invest in discipleship even when it doesn’t look like the popular or convenient choice.

Because of Ruth’s fierce loyalty and commitment to follow her mentor she ended up marrying a man she probably never would have dreamt of and becoming one of the matriarchs in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Even today Ruth and Boaz have a love story that continues to be told and to which many aspire.

Ruth could have left Naomi as Orpah did, but in one moment she would have also abandoned her life calling to be in the family line of the Messiah (a destiny she probably did not even see for herself).

Don’t underestimate the significance of discipleship in your life today. Who is your mentor or discipler? It is so easy to lose our value for mentorship while we are young, or in a major transition and there are so many options and distractions pulling on our time. But let’s respond the way Ruth did in her season of transition, pressing into discipleship rather than skirting away.

We pray this post was impactful for you and has inspired you to find a discipler/mentor or to delve into deeper relationship and accountability with the one you may have already identified. Please feel free to share any comments, questions, or prayer requests you have about your personal discipleship journey!

A Discipleship Prayer from Mrs Lee: Father, I pray for every person struggling with the discipleship journey.  I pray that You will lead and guide them into the relationship You so long for them to have as those seeking direction from You.  Will You provide them with a revelation and the ability to experience deeper levels of intimacy with their mentors?  It is in this sweet place that true healing from our past, wisdom for our future and purpose for our lives is revealed.  I know it can be very challenging finding someone to mentor us through life’s ups and downs but I also know that when we pray You speak.  Thank you for every son and daughter desiring deeper levels of discipleship in their lives.  May they come into a Ruth and Naomi type of blessing.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Will you share how mentorship has helped you or the challenges you are currently facing with finding a mentor?  Maybe you are struggling with going deeper into relationship with a discipler.  Please share in the comments and we would love to pray with you!  Blessings!

Here’s a recent pic of Mrs. Lee at the Atlanta University Center (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse University, Spelman College) where she mentors many students:

jlo shoot

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