Almost everyday I go for a walk at a park that is right across the street from my house. In the last couple weeks we’ve had some wet snow immediately followed by very cold temperatures. What this has done to my beloved walking track is create huge patches of ice upon ice. Which makes for a tricky walking experience.
However I learned quickly that in order to not slip and constantly catch myself from falling, I had to step in the footprints of the people who came before me. Their tracks have created firm, shoe gripping spots for me to step in.
When I tried to walk outside their tracks onto the slick ice, I lost my balance and had to catch myself by grabbing a chain link fence beside me. This, as you can imagine, was pretty embarrassing. No matter how cool I tried to play off the slip (I was just working on some dance moves… ahem), it was no way to finish my walk.
Relying on those who have come before me, was of great benefit to me in that situation.
And same goes in situations of faith.
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. ~ Psalm 119:130
Mentoring is something I believe in strongly. Partly because I seriously am not sure where I would be if I was never built into to by strong men and women of the faith. And partly because scripture seems to scream of its significance.
We need each other.
All of us.
I am so simple without the help of those who have been journeying patiently ahead of me. And I covet the unfolding of their words as they instruct me in my times of need. Their words are indeed lights in the darkness. Illuminating my understanding, so that I might run a little faster in this race.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. ~ Proverbs 13:20
How many of us labor in vain for wisdom when we surround ourselves with foolish folks? What good is the desire for righteousness when our company is made up of those with an opposing desire? I don’t mean we should cloister ourselves off from the world and shun those outside the faith. But the proverbs stands true. Your inner circle; those who you would call your true companions better be people desiring the strengthening of godly, scripture inspired wisdom or you’re in trouble.
Walking in the way of the fool is like me trying to walk on the ice. No matter how confident I try to do it, it’s most certainly a lost cause.
I will fall.
Passed saints from generations of old have left behind many bodies of work that have been grips to sturdy my journey. When I read biographies of theologians, missionaries and just men and women of faith, they speak to me from the grave as those who have finished the race. And I can read their words with hope of the glory they now find themselves in. What a beautiful thing. What help.
But I first must admit that I need their help.
You see, admitting our need for each other in the faith is the kind of humility that brings us closer to Christ. Jesus Himself surrounded Himself with companions. And, although, He never needed them in the way that we do, He modelled to us how the Christian walk is best done.
Through learning from those who have gone on into glory. And in community with each other. Older folks coming along side younger ones to mentor and encourage and instruct. And all of us together spurring each other on in wisdom and faithfulness.
The church is a gathering of sinners in need of help for the journey.
But our greatest help…our most secure steps to walk in are the ones that are laid out for us in the Word of God through the life of Jesus Christ. When we pick up and allow the full council of God to instruct our path we step in ancient footprints.
Beautiful impressions that lead us to heavens gate.
So even in the midst of the depths of loneliness, we have our most precious companion. No matter the circumstance our most trusted friend is always there. Jesus, our great high priest, will never reject or fail us. His Word is mightier than any work of man. And our council shall come from Him first.
But thank heavens for the faithful footprints of others. God is so good that He gave us Himself and each other.
Steady yourself on the path of wisdom, with the aid of those who love Jesus. And then reach out your hand and steady another.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. ~ Psalm 145:4