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In 2 Timothy 2:1, the apostle Paul said to young Timothy, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
We need to mentor our brothers and sisters in Christ, those who are physically younger than we, but also those who are spiritually younger. We need to help them be strong in the Lord, but to do this, it requires time, patience, sacrifice, and love.
When I was in high school, I was mentored by my football coach. For three years, he greatly impacted my life. His instructions, rebuke, and encouragement helped to shape me to be the player I needed to be.
First, I remember his instructions.
He said that when you tackle someone, always hit him below the knees. If you tackle him high, he will drive you back. He taught me not to look at the opponent’s eyes, but at his waist and knees. He emphasized the importance of running hard and tackling by wrapping your arms around your opponent.
Second, I remember his rebukes.
On one occasion during football practice, I walked up to our punter and told him that I wanted to punt. So I picked up the football and punted it. The coach saw me do this. He walked up to me and asked me if I was the team punter. When I replied no, he said to me, “You are not the punter, and you have no business to punter the ball. Now go and run three laps around the field for doing what you are not supposed to do!”
Third, I remember his encouragement.
One of our teammates got injured, and the coach needed someone to fill his position. He had our team sit down and asked us, “Which one of you can rise up and take this key position? Who has the drive in him to work hard and fill this spot?”
His challenge so gripped me that I promised myself I was going to get that position. I worked my hardest in every practice and pushed myself to the limit. After two weeks of practice, the coach had us all sit down again. He said, “I want to announce the man who has worked the hardest and has earned the position we need filled. That man is Juan!”
I cannot tell you how much that encouraged me! By the way, that same drive my coach instilled in me for football has affected every other area of my life as well. He had no idea of the impact he made on my life.
When we mentor someone, I believe that same principle must be applied to their lives. First, we must instruct them. As we look at the apostle Paul’s mentoring of young Timothy we see his constant instruction to him. 2 Timothy 1:7,8 reads, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”
Paul exhorted 2 Timothy 2:22, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Then, he admonished him in the next verse, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” Paul spent a lot of time instructing this young man; and we must do the same with those we are mentoring.
I would like to encourage you to help mentor the lives of young people or those who may be young in the faith. Let’s pour our lives into others, to help shape and mold others in the same areas that Paul did with Timothy.