You've probably heard the old saying, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up someplace else." There's even a book by that title. The truth is, most people have, at best, only a general idea of where they are going with their lives.
The big questions in life don't have very satisfying answers until you consider that you were made for a purpose by a creator God who formed the earth and its inhabitants. It's vital to realize that there is a God who calls people out of confusion and reveals precious knowledge. Those of us on the staff of Vertical Thought want to share with you what God has revealed about His amazing plan for mankind and help you build a successful, purpose-driven life.
We understand that one of the most effective ways to help people achieve their potential is to mentor them. This is not easy, nor is it done in a week of camp or in a weekend seminar.
In his book Mentoring Leaders, Carson Pue says: "Few are actually called to be leaders. Those who are must be nurtured and developed one person at a time. To develop—really develop—transformational leaders, the process must be highly personalized. The long-term results of large leadership or motivational events and seminars show little depth in the developing of anointed leaders. Jesus did not do it in a weekend! I am convinced that their leadership will take the right mix of calling, character and competency" (2005, p. 14).
Vertical Thought was created with the purpose of helping the next generation of leaders. Challenger II, our leadership training program for young adults in an outdoor setting, which has been featured in this magazine, was likewise developed to mentor tomorrow's leaders. It entails small groups in challenging venues with professional guides. Mountain climbing and wilderness adventures can create a wonderful teaching environment.
However, not everyone can take time out for these adventures and be mentored by our staff. So how can you find a mentor to help you avoid the many pitfalls of an age that is growing increasingly secular and humanistic, denying the very power of God and His plan for mankind?
First, you need to know what you're aiming for—the reason why you were born. This is laid out in Scripture.
At the beginning of the Bible is the account of the creation of Adam and Eve. All human beings are their descendants. We are, by natural descent, their great, extended family. Adam is called a son of God (Luke 3:38). Therefore, in our natural descent, we are all the children of God. He is our Father by physical creation.
In an article that appeared in the May 1996 issue of The Good News, "God's Family: The Reason You Were Born," Roger Foster writes: "Paul explained that 'the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together' (Romans 8:16, 17 [King James and New King James Versions]).
"Do you grasp the enormous significance of Paul's statement? It explains why we are here, the very reason for our existence, why we were born. It gives meaning to life itself. It explains why God wants all human beings to come to the knowledge of the truth. God is creating a family, His own family. We have the priceless opportunity to be a part of that family.
"That family relationship—our becoming children of God the Father—is the heart and core of God's great plan for humanity. Notice how Paul expresses it: 'In bringing many sons to glory [salvation], it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy [Christ] and those who are made holy [converted human beings] are of the same family'(Hebrews 2:10, 11, New International Version)."
With our ultimate goal in mind, then, let's consider some steps one can take in finding a mentor and growing together as a spiritual family.
Seek out a biblically literate person. Find someone in your family or church congregation who understands God's purpose for life and spend time talking about your true purpose for life. Not many young people today are exposed to this type of thinking. To be effective, mentoring requires a give-and-take in which you ask questions that are important to you and seek answers from a credible source. For Christians, that source is the Holy Bible. So find someone who is biblically literate.
Get involved. Life is to be lived, and lived forever. The gift of God is eternal life, but why would you want to live if you were miserable, frustrated and unfulfilled? God reveals that there is much to learn, and we are to be growing in grace and knowledge. We learn best by doing! Get involved in church with a youth group that shares the same goals in life!
Take time to reflect. Successful people set goals and work toward them. This entails preparation involving the mind and body. But life can slip by you if you don't take time to reflect on what's important. God gives man one day a week to stop his normal pursuits and rest. The Sabbath rest was meant to be time spent with God in meditating, worshipping and reflecting on what is important.
What good is it to travel at 100 miles an hour if you are lost, heading in the wrong direction? You should often take time to meditate and reflect on your course in life. Seeking advice from a mentor could help you make wiser decisions to develop your potential in many areas of life.
If you really want to grow, develop competencies and feel you have been called by God, seek a knowledgeable mentor to guide you. VT