Steven Furtick - The Best Mentor You Could Have
This is an excerpt from: The Mentor You Didn't Ask For
What I love about God, the more I experience his will and his plan for my little life, is he's the only one who can match the courses to the calling. When you go to college, if you go to college, if you stay in college, you'll have to declare a major eventually. The classes you take… You can take any classes you want to. You can show up when you want to. Nobody is going to make you do anything. You can have a 0.7 GPA (Eric Phillips) if you want to. You can party and flunk out and come to North Greenville and follow me there and ask me to help you get your life together if you want to (Eric Phillips), but you can't declare a major and then pick the…
I think a lot of us want to pick an outcome we want in our lives, but then we want to customize the courses. Because we live in that age. We think mentorship is like a menu, like you're a Cheesecake Factory where the menu is thicker than the Bible. Have you been to Cheesecake Factory? The menu is thicker than the Septuagint. That's kind of how we want to do… That's kind of how the Corinthian church wanted to do with Paul. I'm so furious at this church, because they had the best pastor, the master pastor…Paul. How can they be fighting with each other and divided within each other when Paul is their pastor? How can they have such a master mentor like Paul and be so petty? How can they have a master mentor like Paul and be so immature? Now he's writing them a letter, not as an adviser, not as a critic, but as a father, to say to them, "I see some things in your life".
This is one reason I don't like the concept of a mentor either, because usually, if we ask somebody to be our mentor, we mean, "Will you be my mentor until I don't agree with you anymore? Then I'll get another one". (Lord, you told me this message was going to be hard to preach, but you didn't tell me it was going to be this hard to preach to them. Help me out.) We do this all the time. Here's how I typically do it in my life. It's like I want to select certain things I want God to bring into my life to teach me lessons, but not only do I want to select the lesson…I want to select the outcome of the lesson. Paul is having none of it. He's saying, "You cannot customize Christ". What Paul went through to be who he was… It cost him greatly. In chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians, he mentions a shipwreck. He mentions a stoning. He mentions many storms. He mentions betrayals. He mentions opponents…all of that… in 2 Corinthians, chapter 11. Paul, who paid the price to be an apostle of Jesus Christ… He mentions all of the things that made him such a master pastor.
Now he's writing to a church that is in rebellion, and he's reminding them of his résumé. He says, "I could brag even more, but I'm not going to. I just want you to judge me based on my results and see if I'm somebody worth listening to, but before you judge me based on my results, let me remind you a little bit more of what qualifies me to be in this position". We live in a day with a lot of advice and not much authority. Everybody has an advice column, but very few people have true authority. Paul is not writing advice in the Scripture. Sometimes we read the Bible like it's quotes on Pinterest. "My grace is sufficient for you". Well, that's true, but before Paul said that sentence in that quote, he puts it in a context that's a little more interesting. That's what I want to speak to you a little bit about today: that context. Paul mentions he had a revelation of God. He actually talks about himself in the third person at one point. He says, "I know a man who was caught up to the third heaven," but he's talking about himself. This is Paul.
No wonder Paul needed something to keep him grounded, because there was so much glory on his life. No wonder Paul needed something in his flesh, because he had so much revelation in his spirit. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Paul said, "I saw amazing things, and I could tell you even more about it, but I'm not going to. I don't want to boast about it". Instead, he opens a window, and he shows the wound he calls a thorn and the weakness most people would hide. I think we need more mentors like Paul, more people who will show us not only the great power but the problems they have to overcome to operate in that power. I don't ever want my kids to see me not struggle.
You say, "Well, don't you want to set a good example"? I want to set an example of overcoming struggle, not avoiding it. Paul is like that. We need this message now more than ever. I really think this is a timely word from God, because now everybody wants to share their opinion whether or not it's even solicited. We live in a day of 12-year-old life coaches. I used to read a guy's books early on until I realized he had started six churches and all of them imploded. He was a church-planting consultant. Oh, but you don't have to pay for a consultant these days. Just go to the comments section of any Facebook post, and you will find consultants in the comments. Speaking of Holly, about a year ago, she showed me a comment. I asked her to send it to me, because this is just unbelievable, y'all, what people will offer in the way of expert opinion that you did not solicit. She put a picture of her and me on Instagram, and somebody said, "Y'all are so cute" and "Aw" and hearts and pandas with hearts and all of the things we put to feign emotion.
Somebody said, "Hi, Holly. Not sure if you noticed, but just wanted to say your skin looks so great. It's glowing and super clear. Thought you should know. Ha! Do share if you've recently changed something in your skin care. [Red heart]" Three comments later… Are y'all ready for this? "I feel like you look way better without eyeliner. All the makeup for so many years is making your skin saggy". I might give y'all her username so y'all can look her up and talk to her after church. How many of y'all would enjoy that? Yeah. Y'all aren't saved. Y'all are not mature enough to handle it. I got permission to share this. Holly said I could share it. The lady said, "Botox can help with the wrinkles". Listen to this. "You're still beautiful. Thanks".
I wish I could show y'all her profile picture, because she has crazy eyes. This woman's eyes are crazy, and she misspelled you're. She's a makeup consultant, y'all. She's an amateur Mary Kay in the comments section, but she needs a spelling teacher for the fifth-grade words. (Sorry. Sanctify me, Lord.) "You're so beautiful. I just don't think you need so much makeup. It's ruining your skin". In the words of my kids, "Who asked"? The unsolicited opinions of people about how you should raise your kids, about how you should relate to your husband, about what age you should be married by, and if you're married, about what age y'all really should start thinking about having kids. I mean, you're not getting any younger. Paul is not a consultant in the comments to the church at Corinth who's trolling them with some little slivers of truth that are quoted out of context and telling them the great advice and plan he has for their life independent of God's will. He's an apostle by the will of God, speaking to people he has a relationship with.
This is not some generic advice from an inspirational speaker who wants to sell you something for $299.99 on an infomercial or an e-course. This is not an influencer on Instagram who needs you to follow them in order for them to get a "swipe up" commission from a store. This is Paul. He does something dangerous, because they respect him, but they're starting to question him, because there are "super-apostles" who have infiltrated the church, and they started to inundate God's people with opinions.
"You know, you really don't have to follow Christ like that. You should mix a little Judaism and a little bit of Christianity". So, now there are so many mixed opinions Paul has to set the record straight and say, "I could lay down my authority if I needed to. I don't want to do it like that. I would rather speak to you out of the love from my heart. But in order that you don't just think I'm putting my authority on you to tell you what I want you to do, I want to talk to you about my adversity".
That really touched me, because it's difficult to find somebody who will break it down for you to the level that Paul does. It's not difficult to find somebody who will complain to you. It's not difficult to find somebody who will tell you what they would do. It's not difficult at all to find a parent whose kids are out of the house…their kids are lawyers and doctors now…who will tell you what you should do, and your kid is 7. That's very easy to do. Paul, in the middle of his struggle, to walk in the authority of an apostle and what God has called him to do, he shows appropriate vulnerability.