Monday, November 10, 2008

The Buddy System

It seems like it was only yesterday that my 1st grade class was taking a field trip to the zoo and I walked in the doors hand in hand with my buddy. That was my job, all day long was to keep a hold of my buddy. Ya know, that's not only a great way to both watch and manage kids, but it's also an excellent idea for growing in Christ. But it's not the whole picture.

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


wendalyn said...

Im all for this system. I get how it works. There's just one part of it that I have trouble with and that is number 3. My trouble is that don't feel that I can be mentor to anyone. I sometimes think I have to many questions myself to have any answers for someone else. So I guess my question would be "How do you know?"

Bill said...

First, I don't think you need to know it all. If we did, there would be no mentors.

Second, it can be the pressure of the person behind you that MAKES you grow and learn more.

Third, you should ask the person that is your mentor.

Does that help?

Anonymous said...

Another point to make in regards to Wendalyn's comment generates from the verse Bill quoted in the beginning. You must forget the past and keep pressing into the future. In my life, I have found the past tends to hold me back from doing great things. This includes mentoring others. For example, how can I help a twenty-nothing christian avoid drinking when I fell prey to it myself? I have learned that is just the devil telling more lies. God makes all things work together for the greater good. This includes negative experiences in our lives that may positively impact the life of another. :) I have to admit, mentoring another is by far a weak point in my love walk, too.

wendalyn said...

Thanks helps to now Im not expected to know everything. But what really helps is knowing that Im not the only that feels that way.

Bill said...

I'm glad to hear that on both accounts. Growing and Sharing your faith in Christ never has to be a solo gig. Jesus did not send out one by one, but two by two. He knew that we need each other for support, stability, and strength. I hope that as the blog grows we will be able to help provide all of these to one another. Love y'all.