It’s hard for athletes to see a season come to an end. Many come into a new team and find their Christian community and fellowship in the company of their teammates, but when the season ends, their locker-room brothers are no longer daily by their side.
When we think about this scenario, we need to think about the two things God promised—He promised that we would experience tribulation in this life and He promised that He would never change. Drawing from these truths, we see that it’s extremely important for us to solidify our faith not in the circumstances, activities, or relationships around us, but in our relationship with God alone.
Having said that, God designed each of us to be in community with others, developing relationships with them. I think that every believer should have three types of relationships in their life: A person they are pouring into, a person who is pouring into them, and a peer.
A mentor keeps you humble. This should be someone who you want to emulate because you’ve seen their strength of faith, but you have to be humble enough to admit that you need to learn from them and submit to them as they pour into you.
It’s important to be pouring into someone else not only because we can help the other person, but because taking some responsibility for someone else gives us accountability for our actions and intentions. We can easily become lazy or unmotivated if we’re doing something for ourselves but if another person is looking up to us or relying on us, then we are responsible both for our own growth and for theirs.
Lastly, a peer is someone who holds you accountable, this person will always look you straight in the eye and tell you what’s what.
For many pastors, it’s easy to have only one kind of relationship with others—the mentor/mentee relationship, but I make sure to have all three of these because I need accountability and wisdom just as much as anyone else! The danger in lacking a peer is that you don’t have someone who will tell you the truth; instead you may have people who only agree with you because of your position, or even just their perception of your position.
I have one peer that I meet with regularly who always begins our times together with the question, “What is one thing you don’t want me to ask you right now?” I can’t avoid this question; my only choice is to be truthful. But I love this question because it helps us deal with the real hidden issues of our hearts.
It may be hard to be vulnerable, to even find the willingness to open up and share your heart with others, but God designed us to be in community with His people. We need this. Don’t turn to vices to indulge (or numb) your need for help or acceptance, allow God to bring others into your life to encourage, inspire, and empower you in your faith.
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10:24-25
—Pastor Ted Winsley, chaplain of the Philadelphia Eagles
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