How would I have survived my 20s without family, friends, my church, pastors, and mentors? And how could I brave the uncharted road ahead without a faithful tribe? A key to life is having friends who are not merely fun to be around but also good at challenging us to grow in love, maturity, and godliness. Iron sharpens iron. Real Christian fellowship and discipleship are crucial to not only surviving, but thriving in life.
9. Iron sharpens iron.
I’ve heard it said that at any point you should have both a “Paul” and a “Timothy” involved in your life. Someone who invests in you and someone you invest in.
I’m so thankful for every Paul who stood up to the challenge of investing in stubborn and change-resistant me. And I’m thankful for every providentially assigned Timothy who allowed me to participate in his growth.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)
This life was not meant to be lived alone, isolated, or rogue. We need one another. And the Bible is full of “one another’s” that we owe to each other in love.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:13-14 ESV)
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:9-13 ESV)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16 ESV)
Mentoring and discipleship have played a huge role in my spiritual growth over the last decade. Many of my Paul’s are still involved in my life in some way or another. Some I still see at church; a few have either moved or passed on from this life. God has used each one to encourage, challenge, and mold me into something better than I was before.
(My church uses a dynamic discipleship program called Partners 1-on-1. You can learn more about it here.)
Don’t underestimate the power of discipleship.
Yes, it takes time. Yes, it can be uncomfortable at times to be transparent, honest, and truly accountable. No, it’s not always easy.
But the eternal value is #WorthEveryPenny of your time and effort.
Find a Paul. Be a Timothy. Pass it on.
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