Our society loves expert opinions. Thanks in large part to user-friendly search engines, we are now just one click away from a myriad of opinions, commentary, and authority figures. Using online resources, I have learned how to build Mario and Luigi out of Legos, gotten recommendations for a moving company, comparison-shopped between bicycles, and concocted a homemade remedy to finally beat a cough that had been nagging me for weeks. As homeschoolers, our family often seeks out professionals for insight and knowledge. From potters to geologists to dentists, we have sidled up to local experts who enthusiastically share their knowledge and passion with us. These relationships are rather easy to manage since we are mere novices and they are card-carrying professionals. (In fact, they usually have nicely framed documents on their wall attesting to their qualifications.) If only such documentation was available when checking out a person's relationship with Christ.
Called to connect
Perhaps even more important than the experts we seek out for specific needs are the people we trust with our daily decision-making. Romans 16:17 cautions, "Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people's faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them." Knowing who to trust takes practice. This is especially important when it comes to mentoring relationships.
Our religious beliefs and our love for Christ often feels like a soft spot—a vulnerable place we would rather nurture in the comfort and privacy of our own homes. But Hebrews 10:25 urges us to meet together and "encourage one another." Proverbs 27:17 reminds us, "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." We are called to be connected with others. Our personal relationship with Christ is strengthened by living in a community of believers. That means coming clean with others about our doubts, sins, indiscretions, hopes, faith, and future. A mentoring relationship is ideal for doing this—but first you have to find the right mentor.
Look for someone who has what you want. When it was recommended to me that I look for a spiritual mentor, I considered where I was and the direction I wanted to head. As a mom with two active young boys and a marriage that just hit a dozen years, I am knee deep in the family stage of life. I wanted to spend time with someone who loved their kids, cherished their marriage, and was just a bit further down the road than myself. I also wanted someone who knew Scripture and relied on it throughout the day because that was a goal I wanted to work on.