Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23, 2013 … A Hunger To Follow – A Willingness To Lead

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 54

Passage of the Day: Zechariah 8: 23b - [NLT] …  
23 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: In those days ten people from nations and languages around the world will clutch at the hem of one Jew’s robe. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ” 
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Zechariah, Chapter 8 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: 2nd Kings 2: 9 : [NLT] … [Elisha in seeking to be mentored and discipled by Elijah …] ... 
9 When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” 

Reference Passage #2: Proverbs 27: 17 : [NLT] … [Truth about accountability and mentoring relationships …] ,,, 
17 As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. 

Reference Passage #3: 1st Corinthians 11: 1 : [NLT] … [Paul was a mentor’s mentor!] ... 
1 And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s. 

My Journal for Today:   Howard Hendricks, the Professor Emeritus at Dallas Theological Seminary, who just recently passed away, along with his son, Bill, wrote a highly recommended book about mentoring relationships entitled … As Iron Sharpens Iron: Building Character in a Mentoring Relationship. And this book, along with the Proverb for which the title comes, Proverbs 27: 17, quoted above, highlights a great truth about Christian discipleship; and that is: It’s more productive, in becoming like Christ, if one follows another, more mature Christian, who closely follows Christ. This is the essence of MENTORING relationships; and Howard Hendricks used to teach that one should [paraphrased] … be a Timothy to a Paul and then become a Paul to a Timothy.

The Timothy to Paul relationship is probably the best example of a young (i.e., lesser mature) believer, who willingly aspires to be more like Christ, following a more mature teacher toward that end. In the Old Testament one of the best examples of a willing and able teacher leading a younger believer toward Godliness can be found in the Elijah to Elisha relationship. In both instances a willing and teachable, but lesser mature, mentee was led by a willing and more mature (i.e., in the ways of God) teacher/leader to grow in Godliness.

Paul had expressed his willingness to lead others toward Christlikeness in the passage above from his letter to lesser mature, sometimes confused, believers [see 1st Cor. 11:1]. And Paul was confident and willing to lead other Christians toward Christlikeness because Paul knew that he was diligently and fruitfully following Christ himself. And the old Proverb, quoted above, states that “… iron sharpens iron,” which, of course, means that if one is serious about becoming more like Christ, it is best to follow someone in that pursuit who walks and talks like Christ.

The teaching example I’ve used for years to illustrate this is the question, “If you had to traverse a minefield, would you plunge ahead blindly, ignorant of the placement of the mines, or would you desperately seek to follow someone who knew where all the mines were placed?” … DUH!!!

And that’s what the Scriptures above are teaching. Elisha, as a mentee, wanted a “double portion” of what Elijah had to offer as a mentor. Paul was very willing to show other Christians, like Timothy or Titus, the way through the minefields of life because he (Paul) knew that he was following the Master mine-detector … Christ. And the iron of Elijah and Paul helped sharpen the iron of Elisha and Timothy into more solid and Godly followers of The Lord.

Iron does truly sharpen iron; and I pray that you, as I have in my life, have had a Paul to sharpen you in Christlikeness; and once sharpened in spiritual maturity and Godliness, I pray that you have led a Timothy, or two or three or more, to walk through the minefields of life, helping them to let their iron be sharpened on yours.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for the mentor whom You led me years ago to become more mature in following You; and then, thank You for leading other men to me whom I can sharpen in Your ways. … Amen

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