We live in a world where advice comes at us from every side. Someone else always has an idea of how we should run our lives…
…and we can just as quickly “sort out” someone else’s life, if they’d only listen to our sage wisdom!
We recently finished a course in mentoring/discipling others. It was revolutionary for me.
My job, I discovered, isn’t to tell others what to do…
…it’s to point them to the only One who knows exactly what should take place. In the meantime, I get to let go of making judgment calls and condemning.
That’s a lot of freedom right there!
Instead of, “Do this, do that,” our response is:
“What do you sense the Lord is saying to you regarding this matter?”
If they haven’t inquired of the Lord, that’s the first line of business:
“You ask Him, then come tell me what He said.”
That they’ve never heard the Lord speak is not a consideration. It has to happen sooner or later, why not now?
The Bible says that His sheep hear His voice.
When they come back to report, what they think He said is weighed against the Word. Is it consistent with His expressed will? If not, then we ask again…and ask Him to make it plain.
Most of the time, though, what they *thought* they might have heard is correct. Their excitement at having actually connected with Jesus is so fun to experience!
The beauty of this sort of discipleship is that we are, in fact, teaching them to follow Jesus…which is what it means to be a disciple.
Further, I do not bear responsibility for making decisions or judgment calls that were wrong, and having to bear the embarrassment when they follow my wrong advice.
I love it!
When our time together is finished (and this is rarely a long-term commitment), they’ve learned how to hear God’s voice for themselves, and how to discern whether they heard correctly as well. They’ve actually learned to follow Jesus…and not me.
I am not omniscient, nor can I save anyone. Like John the Baptizer, I point others to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Does it get any better than this?
No matter what their issue, I am free to love, to speak truth (in love), and to give a listening ear without becoming embroiled in their life.
In the past, this is exactly what I did. I would become very emotionally invested in their problems, take sides, heap condemnation on their foes, and make myself nearly crazy in the process.
It’s wonderful to be able to give a safe place to vent (without repeating what was said to my friends and family), to point them to the Lord and ask lots of questions to help them think through what’s going on, and treat them with honor and respect…while extending the same honor and respect to those with whom they are in conflict.
I don’t want to “dis” anyone ever again!
The “byline” of our church is this:
We love. We make disciples.
I want to live my life like this…
I’m amazed at how complicated I can make the simple commands to:
1) Go and make disciples
2) Love one another.
Do I never give advice? No. Sometimes it’s necessary to open Scripture and show them what God has to say about the matter.
Other than that, it’s a matter of asking questions and helping them come to their own conclusion…to take responsibility for their own life. I can make observations about common threads and ask them to consider the matter with the Lord.
They’re free to take or leave what I’ve said. Since my reputation as a *wise counselor* isn’t at stake, I’m not on the line. I don’t get frustrated because I’ve given *my* best advice – and had them completely ignore it, either.
They get to grow up a bit…and so do I as I practice entrusting them to the Lord. Grace and mercy can now flow from Him through me without my deciding whether or not they should receive it.
With the Lord’s help, I want to love…
…and not do dis!