Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Athlete parallels, part 2 of 5
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown… 1 Corinthians 9:25
Seeking out advice from veterans of the sport is more common than you would think. Whether it’s live feedback or by reading a book from a running guru…the more information you have as an athlete, the better. Coaches challenge our perception of progress, and they give us insight into the challenges that lie ahead (many of which we may not have even imagined).
In Paul’s last letter, he wrote this to Timothy:
1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us… 2:1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus… 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth…3 10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
These words overflow with wisdom coming from a spiritual father to son. You can almost feel Paul’s affection for Timothy, and you can tell that it wasn’t just a one-time interaction or occasional check-up. Paul shared his life with Timothy.
We need older, mature Christians to give frequent input into our lives. Allow them to guide and select our forms of training; let them point out areas that need work and then address these areas as they direct. If I am the only evaluator of my training progress, I can easily miss a lot of things that need correction or the areas for potential improvement.
As with many others, Joe has been a mentor to me for a number of years. I would not be the man I am today if not for him teaching me how to study Scripture – Observe, Interpret, then Apply. Over the years, his encouragement and correction has kept me (and consequently my family) from traps and snares that could have caused a lot of heart-ache and grief. Joe is an excellent example of how to be a spiritual father; he is a good and faithful servant of the Lord.
If you have had a spiritual mentor do the same for you, if you have learned and grown in your faith because of him/her…I would also encourage you to let them know, either in person or in writing.
The point is that we need mentors, we need a coach. If you don’t have one, ask God for one. And then be sure to listen to them.