Paul in Philippians said it this way:
"...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil 3:13b-14
Living as a follower of Jesus is like a long distance race. It's not a sprint. You can't make it to the finish line with a short burst of speed. You've got to have a long term strategy to keep up the pace. Unfortunately, unlike a single race, life is much more complicated. We are surrounded by pressures and influences constantly. If we are going to live a lifestyle of faith and not shrink back from whatever God has called us, we need to put the race into perspective. There are three types of relationship that each of us need to keep us on the right track.
1. Someone BEFORE us... We all should have someone in our lives that is a little farther ahead of us, that can look back and say, "Watch out!" when we're coming up on a proverbial pothole. Having a mentor can help you not only avoid some catastrophes along the way, but quite possibly make the road a little easier, or reveal a shortcut we did not see. I am not talking about your pastor that you hear on Sunday mornings at church. I mean a person of faith that you have a relationship with, that you trust and respect enough to tell you when you are wrong. This person helps you by giving you guidance.
2. Someone BESIDE us... We all also need someone who is running right along side us. We all need a teammate. This is a friend that is at about the same place you are in your journey of faith. They have been saved about as long as you and/or are just as mature as you. This is the person that you should be talking with the most. Sharing the trials and triumphs with. Without this person you are most likely to slow down or quit all together. This person helps by giving you endurance.
3. Someone BEHIND us... The final relationship, and usually the least practiced, is the runner coming in behind you. This person is looking up to you like you look up to your mentor. They're relying on you to give them a 'look out' signal if they're about to hit the pothole you missed. You will always look at your actions and choices differently when you know someone is counting on you to lead them. This gives you a very real and felt need for excellence.
If we truly want to grow in Christ, we need these three types of relationships, but we also need to keep them in balance. How do your relationships and friendships measure up to this idea? Do you have relationships that you want to chance or add?
- Just a thought