For the sake of the gospel, YBL is passionate about mentoring. In recent years, this focus has harmonized with trends in culture. The marketplace has adopted the mentoring concept and promoted it as a means of growth and health. At YBL, we are excited about how this has caused more people to seek out wise mentors.
It is important to have people speaking into your life. It is doubly important that those voices are wise. I was struck this week in my daily Bible reading by several people who listened to their mentors—to their own destruction. Here are a couple examples:
Absalom (David’s son) listens to his advisor, Hushai, while engaging in a coup attempt. He takes the wrong counsel. His rebellion is crushed and he dies (2 Samuel 16:6-14).
Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, became king and immediately had to resolve an issue from his father’s conscription of Israelites into forced labor. He took the wrong advice and the kingdom split, and ten of the twelve tribes of Israel (84% of his people) abandoned him (1 Kings 12:8-16).
Jereboam, who became king over the ten tribes that renounced Rehoboam & Judah’s leadership, was afraid that the tribes would reconcile with Judah if they regularly went up to Jerusalem (Judah’s capital) to offer sacrifices. He sought counsel (1 Kings 12:28) and was advised to build golden calves and competing worship centers so the people would not go back to Jerusalem. He did so, and his family and reign fell under judgment and the curse of God.
All of these stories indicate that it is possible to have counsel in your life that is actually harmful and leading you the wrong way. Generally we would say mentoring is a good thing, just like having purpose is a good thing. That is not enough, however. No one could accuse Osama Bin Laden of lacking purpose. It is not just important to have purpose, but to have the right purpose. In the same way, we all have different types of voices speaking to us. Television, movies, the radio and internet, friends, coworkers and family. We need to ask if we are listening to the right voices, ones that will give us life-giving advice.
To find counselors like that, we need a standard for identify who is wise. The final standard for wisdom is the Bible and in Jesus Christ–in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). When looking for a mentor, we should look for those who not only profess faith, but exhibit the qualities and behavior that demonstrate wisdom. James says it this way: “Is any of you wise? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the gentleness which comes from wisdom (James 3:13).” The truly wise are gentle and marked by their deeds.
You should have a mentor. Pray and seek carefully for a wise one.