Saturday, April 7, 2018

Making a Difference by Influencing Lives for Christ

"If [Christian leaders] do not teach Christian
principles to all followers of Christ,
we are not equipping them with God's truth that will
overcome worldly influence."  
-- ( p. 53 Billy Graham in Quotes, c. 2011).

I have a passion for Christian mentoring, which is why I wrote the book: The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring. I know that fellow Christians understand that we are to share our faith with non-believers, but we also have been given the responsibility of speaking into the lives of both believers and non-believers to help them live more productive lives for the Lord. We are not supposed to be in this life journey alone but are to be there to help each other. One of the ways that we can help other women is to speak into the lives of these other women through Active Relational Christian Mentoring. Mentoring may sound scary or sound like it will take too much of our time, but if we are willing to step forward and do God’s will in showing our love toward others, mentoring will not be scary and somehow through God’s grace and provision we will be able to find the time that is needed to invest in the life of another woman. In fact, all it takes is 20 to 30 minutes a week to speak into the life of another woman, i.e., to mentor her.

So, what is a mentor? Well, a mentor is an individual who comes along side of another person to support, encourage, help, teach, coach, or counsel that person who is also known as the mentee. Indeed, there are mentors in all areas of life. Businessmen have mentors, students have mentors, and most any work-related area of our lives has the possibility of mentors.

A woman Christian mentor, though, is an individual who has truly accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior and who then develops a godly relationship with either another Christian woman or a non-Christian woman for the purpose of encouraging, supporting, counseling, etc. She is investing in the life of the other woman so that the love of God can be understood and seen by her. The ultimate purpose of the Christian woman mentor is to empower the other woman, i.e., the mentee, to be all that she can be for God, for herself, for her family, for her friends, and to be all that she can be even for those acquaintances that she encounters. Of course, for those that have as yet to ask Christ into their heart, the Christian mentor has an even greater purpose, which is to share the Gospel message within the mentoring process. It is then through the mentoring process that the Christian mentor will guide her mentee into knowing more about the Lord and how He expects all of us to live. Through her witnessing as well as through prayer and study of the Word of God, the mentor plants the seeds of Salvation for the non-Christian mentee. God then does the rest.

Most mentoring relationships start out on common ground or with a need that needs to be met for the mentee or with a topic or subject that needs to be covered in order to make the woman’s life easier or more productive. But no matter the initial reason for the mentoring relationship, a non-Christian woman mentee should then acquire greater knowledge about God and Christ’s gift of Salvation through the Christian mentoring process and through the time spent together in fellowship with her mentor. Along with the goal of helping the non-Christian woman in whatever area she needs help, there is the ultimate goal of helping her to find Christ as her Savior. But in order to help the woman find Christ, the Christian mentor must first develop a mentoring relationship based upon love and caring.

A Closer Walk with the Lord

The outcome or fruit generated from an Active Relational Christian Mentoring relationship should be the mentee's closer walk with the Lord. The fruit is also the empowerment of another Christian woman who is willing to walk daily for the Lord, and who is willing to share her knowledge of Christ and Salvation will other women she encounters. A friend of mine, Donna McCoy Harms, said this about Christian mentoring: “When we fellowship with another woman, we will discover that a kinship develops in the learning, laughing, and sometimes crying that takes place as both the mentor and the mentee grow closer to the Lord.” All this and more occurs within the Christ developed relationship between mentor and mentee that can not only impact the lives of both women, but that can impact the lives of other women they encounter.

Christian mentoring of another believer is part of our responsibility as born-again followers of Christ to encourage each other to walk for the Lord and to always keep Christ first and foremost within our hearts. This is why, the author of Hebrews wrote to his fellow Christians: “Take care brethren that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day as long as it is still called ‘Today’, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.  -- (Hebrews 3: 12-14. NASB).

The Need for Encouragement and Love

It is very hard to live in this secular world without the support of fellow Christians. Moreover, it can be difficult to grow in spiritual maturity, grow closer to the Lord, or stay true to Him without the help and encouragement of fellow believers, i.e. the church body. For, it is our fellow Christians who can encourage us, help us, and keep us accountable, so that we do not inadvertently let the devil and his espoused sin get a foothold within our heart. It is only through our healthy relationships with fellow Christian women that express caring, kindness, support, and concern for these other women that we can see or are reminded of God’s eternal love for us. That is why it is so important for women to invest in the lives of other women through the process of Active Relational Christian Mentoring.

As Christians, we cannot live in isolation from the secular world. Indeed, both Christian men and women live surrounded by evil, trials, and tribulations, as well as by just the daily grind of living in a sinful world. To avoid all the pitfalls of living within this fallen world, all Christians need the encouragement of other Christians. In fact, the importance of this needed encouragement by our fellow Christians is expressed in the Apostle’s writings throughout the Newer Testament. For, it was the Apostle Paul, who when writing to the Thessalonians, went so far as to admonish the new Christians to encourage one another. Paul said, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”  -- (I Thessalonians 5: 11. NASB)

We all need to be reminded of our responsibility as believers to encourage and help our fellow Christians. But we also need to be reminded of the effect that we are having on those around us as they see and listen to what we have to say. That is why it is so important for Christian women to step forward to specifically invest in the lives of other women through Christian mentoring.

Most of us understand the word encouragement, but how do we build up one another. Well, we build up others by not only our words, but by our actions too. We can build up our fellow Christians with our words and by being there for another woman during times of crisis, loneliness, pain, and sorrow. Taking the time out of our personal allotted time, shows the other woman that we care and that we are willing to be there for her. It is in being there for her that we can build her up through our mentoring of the Scriptures, as well as through our mentoring of Christian actions, love, and concern. Moreover, being willing to help gives the other woman a feeling of worthiness while giving her a friend who is willing to stand by her in her time of need.

The Apostle Paul again teaches us about the importance of encouragement and true love through the letter he wrote to the Philippian Christians. Paul wrote, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves: do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others.  -- (Philippians 2: 1-4. NASB).

Active Relational Christian Mentoring is a selfless loving service to the Lord and to other women which allows us to express the love of Christ in both our words and our actions. Through the simple act of the mentoring fellowship, we can help, support, comfort, inform, and share our knowledge, skills, talents, and wisdom with another woman. Active Christian mentoring also helps us to look out for the interest of a fellow Christian woman as we help empower her to be all that she was created to be. And for the woman who does not yet know Christ as her Savior, your Christian mentoring fellowship, support, caring, and kindness can be seen as the light of Christ shining out from your re-born life. Moreover, the joyful unity of believers serving the Lord and others is not only welcoming, but it is a powerful way to express the Gospel of Christ and His love to a woman who needs Him desperately. Furthermore, women were created to help, support, and share not only what they know but especially the Gospel message with other women.

The Reason God Created Women.

We have all read the creation story in Genesis, and we have all been told why God created humans. Why were we created? Well, in Isaiah 43: 7 we are told that God created us for His glory! However, our purpose here on earth doesn’t end with just giving God the glory He so richly deserves. We were also created to love God and to love others. In fact, besides giving us the ability to glorify God and praise Him, God has also given each of us a specific purpose in life that has to do with love. It is this purpose that will benefit the Kingdom of God.

What is the Kingdom of God? Well, it is a spiritual kingdom made up of believers in Christ who have been commissioned to tell all the world about Christ and the gift of Salvation offered to all. As believers we are expected to benefit the Kingdom of God, but we must be willing to care about the members of God’s Kingdom, and we must be willing to tell non-Christians about the Kingdom of God in order to do so. As caring Christians, we are ones who can help the Kingdom of God grow exponentially by our witnessing for Christ.

Humans were created to not only glorify and praise the Lord, but to serve the Kingdom of God and through our service produce fruit for the Kingdom of God in our own specifically created way. Yes, every person who has been re-born has been created to do specific work and witnessing for the Kingdom of God. Both men and women have their own special characteristics and abilities that can not only contribute to the continuity of the human race, but that also enables them to serve the Lord in their own special way.

We all know that God created man first. But shortly thereafter, God decided that He needed to create a companion for man. In Genesis 2: 18 we read: “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper, comparable to him.” But it is in Genesis 2: 21-23 that we actually discover how God created woman: “So, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took on of his ribs and closed up the flesh at the place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from man and brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.’” – (NASB).

The Hebrew word for woman is “isha”. The Hebrew word for man is “ish”. The evangelist David Jeremiah said that God took a rib from man or “ish” so that woman or “isha” would be a part of “ish”. In other words, Adam would be incomplete until they were brought together as “ish” and “isha”. This was because Adam, who was missing a rib, now needed to be near to “isha”. In other words, in order to be complete, Adam needed “isha” at his side.

But it was more than Adam just needing to be near his missing rib that brought them together, because God had created “isha” to be there to support, encourage, love, and help Adam. Moreover, because of the way that God had made woman, God knew that she would be able to use the special characteristics of love, as well as the ability to encourage, comfort, show kindness, and have empathy, and the ability to help and support others in their needs. In other words, she was to be a helpmate to not only her husband but to her family and friends. Furthermore, God knew ahead of time that the special and unique characteristics that He had given to both man and woman would be very valuable in making and maintaining relationships. Moreover, these abilities would also be important to witnessing and mentoring others for the benefit of Kingdom of God once God sent His Son into the world to save us from our sins. Sure enough, each gender, i.e., man and woman, were to use their special characteristics, gifts, and abilities to be ambassadors for Christ and for the Kingdom of God once they accepted the free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

Besides the purpose of glorifying God, we each have been given individual purposes in life. To further accomplish our individual purposes in life within our ambassadorship for Christ, God has also given each Christian certain talents, skills, knowledge, and wisdom unique to them to use for themselves and for the benefit of the Kingdom of God. With these talents, skills, knowledge, wisdom, etc., God has also given both man and woman the ability to influence others for the glory of God. But, God has further given women in particular some unique abilities that can enable them to be great at Christian mentoring and influencing others for Christ.

The Influence of Women as Christian Mentors.

God has given every woman a great area of influence within her life. In fact, women can influence their families, their spouses, and their children on a daily basis. In actuality, though, they have been given, through their influence, the ability to mentor those around them on a daily basis whether they realize it or not. In addition to influencing those closest to them, women influence other women in their workplace, at church, and during ordinary life encounters. They can even influence the children that their children play with. Women also influence the women that they meet in stores, in beauty salons, and in workout centers, etc. In fact, the list of those women who are daily influenced within the category of just passive mentoring could go on and on. However, when we add to this list, the category of active influence such as women's engagement in conversation, or women's involvement in active mentoring, then women's' areas of influence grow greatly. Indeed, every person that a woman encounters is being brought into her circle of influence, even if it is just momentarily. That is why it is so important for Christian women to think about their potential words and their actions first; always asking ourselves if we are glorifying the Lord with our words and actions.

One of the most wonderful things that Christian women can do is to become an active relational Christian mentor. For, it is through the use of both our words and actions as mentors that we can influence and actually enhance the lives of other women, i.e., our mentees, in an active way rather than just a passive way. In fact, the biblical scriptures tell us that Christian women are to not only mentor their spouses, children, and friends, but that we are to mentor other Christian women in our walk with the Lord. Although the word “mentor” is not specifically used, the apostle Paul wrote to Titus and in his letter set out the duties of both older and younger Christian women and their mentoring responsibilities within the Kingdom of God. He said: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they many encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God will not be dishonored.”  -- (Titus 2: 3-5. NASB).

Women have Special Abilities for Christian Mentoring.

All of the things that the Apostle Paul mentioned are important to the Christian walk and to the influence that women have upon other women. But along with those duties, Christian women have also been given talents, skills, and abilities to support, help, enlighten, and empower another woman to be all that she can be for God, herself, her family, and her friends. Along with the wisdom and biblical knowledge that women have received from studying the Bible, the Holy Spirit has also bestowed upon Christian women individual talents that can be used in their mentoring of another woman. But besides these spiritual gifts, skills, and talents, women have been given other special abilities that can help in the mentoring process.

These special abilities actually empower Christian women to develop active mentoring relationships with other women. Here are just a few of those abilities that women can use in mentoring. You can probably think of others.

1.     Women are generally great at communicating. In fact, women speak more words in a single day than men speak in a day.
2.     Women in general are capable of thinking about several things at once and discerning the most important.
3.     Women are usually capable of juggling and using time wisely, allowing them to get many things done in a single day.
4.     Women are generally able to share or teach others skills, and share their knowledge, and information. (For example: even without being a career teacher, most women are capable of teaching their children what they need to know in order to get along in the world.).
5.     Women are able to use their instincts to help themselves and others even when a situation does not seem concerning in the natural world.
6.     Women usually have developed greater discernment.
7.     Women usually have good insight if they are leaning on the Lord.
8.     Women in general have an instinctual nurturing nature.
9.     Women are usually capable of loving many people at once.
10. Women are usually capable of showing empathy to others.

There are probably many more abilities that you can list that help women in their mentoring or influence of other women. But there is one more ability that women mentors need to have or can acquire. That is the ability to listen to the other woman. Many women are already good listeners, but if you aren’t you can acquire the ability to listen; you just have to desire to listen. It is just a matter of choosing to listen closely to the other woman. Also, we must understand, too, that listening encompasses not only the ability to hear what the other woman is saying, but it also includes the ability to see or observe the facial expressions and body language of the other woman. If you can learn to do all three, you can become a great listener. However, if you are then able to add the ability to discern what the other woman is not saying, sometimes called reading between the lines, then you can become an excellent listener.

It is those women who work at listening to what the other woman is actually saying who are able to become great mentors. That is because they are able to both hear and see the need or concern that should be addressed for the mentee. Then the Christian mentor can pray for her mentee with the assurance that she praying for the right things or needs of the mentee. This is important, because prayer is a powerful resource to be used in helping our mentees. For, without God’s guidance, direction, and support, we are just floundering around in our human perceptions and actions, with hit or miss results. But, to really be good or great Active Relational Christian Mentors, we must rely on God through our prayer and our study of His Word.

The bottom line is that God has given each woman what she needs to accomplish the method of servanthood that He has asked her to perform. God has also given us the resources and innate abilities as well as the special talents to be used in our service to Him and to other women for the Kingdom of God. All we have to do is look at ourselves closely and evaluate our skills, talents, gifts, knowledge, and abilities, and then pray about how we are to use all of them within our Christian lives of service. Moreover, Active Relational Christian Mentoring is a wonderful service that every woman can perform for the Kingdom of God whether you are dedicating your godly service to Christian Mentoring or you are just occasionally mentoring a friend or neighbor. You Can Do It! You can mentor for the Lord!

Salvation for All

“Salvation is always ‘good news.’
It is news of God’s love and forgiveness – adoption into His family –
Fellowship with His people – freedom from the penalty of sin –
Liberation from the power of sin.”

[God] holds in His omnipotent hand the priceless,
precious, eternal gift of salvation,
and He bids you to take it without money and without price.”
-- Billy Graham in Quotes, c. 2011. p. 111, 113.

If you are not a born-again Christian, which means that you haven’t asked for Christ’s forgiveness and haven’t believed upon Him as the Living Son of God, you can easily do so. All you have to do is come to Christ with a truly repentant heart for the sins in your life and then ask Him to forgive your sins, while believing that Christ, who was born of a virgin, died for you on the cross, and was raised from the dead conquering eternal death for you and everyone who will believe on Him. For the Word of God says:

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’” 
-- (Romans 10: 9-11. NKJ).

No comments:

Post a Comment