In our desire to grow in the Lord, we gravitate to older brothers and sisters in Christ with the hope that they will guide us in our walk. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, Paul often spoke of his loving relationship with his spiritual son, Timothy. He further addressed the need for older women to guide younger women in Titus 2.
A spiritual parent keeps one thing in mind if they are wise. Their job is to guide others toward a mature relationship with Christ. They do so by their example and occasional instruction. They won’t allow their spiritual children to see them as their personal problem solvers. In fact, they encourage their charges to develop the crucial disciplines of prayer, devotional times, and Bible reading.
Do you have people you consider mentors or spiritual parents in your life? I present these musings for your consideration:
Are you aware of your mentor’s human frailties? Do you honour their need for rest and restoration? Are you jealous if they are mentoring more than one person? Are you demanding of their time? Do you see them as people with needs of their own, or do you see them like vending machines that you should be able to use at any time of day or night?
Have you disregarded their advice in the past? Have you failed to follow through on promises you made to them? Have you made excuses when they confronted you on these issues?
If you are sensing a distance between yourself and your spiritual leadership. they could be waiting for you to become more receptive to their advice. Be reassured, they haven’t stopped loving you.
Spiritual parents intercede on your behalf, hoping that you will wean yourself from a dependency on them for spiritual nourishment. They will steadfastly point you to the true source, the Bread of Life. John the Baptist understood this principle.
John 3:29-30 (ESV) – “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Spiritual parents encourage their children to learn to recognize the Good Shepherd’s voice. He knows them by name, and His call is unique for each of His sheep.
John 10:3-5 (ESV) – “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice.”
The above is an excerpt from the chapter entitled “Are You a Cling Wrap Christian” found in “Dare to Call Him Friend” by Katherine Walden, available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats. ©2016 Katherine Walden.
All Bible references are from the NASB 1995 version unless indicated otherwise.
Until next week,
©2022 Katherine Walden