Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. ~ Luke 22:31, 32
READING: Matthew 28:19, 20
One of the things that is very close to the heart of God is the maturity in character that can only take place through discipleship, mentoring and encouraging.
Through our long experience in church planting, I have come to realize how difficult it is to establish true discipling relationships in a church.
It takes lots of time and is very demanding – time and energy that are in short supply – both in the mentor and in the disciple. The sacrifice that it requires is not easy to make.
One of the prime opportunities to mold character happens if the disciple should stumble.
When his old sinful nature gets the disciple into trouble, if he is fortunate enough to have a godly mentor, that mentor who is close to him has a strategic moment in which to guide and encourage him, and insist that he take the right path to victory.
When Jesus spoke his poignant prediction to Simon Peter, he was acting the part of the godly mentor to Simon. He acknowledged that Simon would, in fact, stumble, but assured him of his prayerful intercession.
He also showed Simon a glimpse of fruitful ministry beyond that failure. God wants each one of us to be such a person in the life of others within our church.
It is a costly commitment both for the disciple and for the mentor. It requires much time and emotional energy and, many times, financial cost. But it is worth it to see people develop a character that is stable and useful to the Kingdom of God.
Father, Help me to model your grace to those I mentor to mold their character into Christ-likeness. Amen.