Meet Your Personal Mentor
- Christopher L. Burge & Pamela Toussaint Authors
- 2005 9 Mar
You shall receive power when
the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
— Acts 1:8
Your sweetheart, an experienced pilot, surprises you with a helicopter ride one beautiful spring Saturday. It’s a clear, blue-sky day, so Sweetie decides to let you fly the helicopter for a while. You enjoy the exhilarating feeling of commandeering a helicopter and soaring to new heights. But while flying at a high altitude, you encounter storm clouds that cause the helicopter to bump and slide. The turbulence forces you to give the controls back to Sweetie. What began as an exciting excursion turns into a rough ride that leaves you humbled but glad you could hand things over to someone who knows exactly what to do.
Most people would gladly give up the controls in the above situation. (A few would indignantly continue to fly the copter until forced into a crash landing — but this is not you!) Yet we resist giving up control of our lives to God. Instead, we clutch our Palm Pilots, filling them with goals to pursue, social appointments to attend, obligations to fulfill, "Oprah" to watch, and so on. Often, our agenda is loaded with genuinely good things. So what’s the problem? Well, the Holy Spirit not only wants to fly our helicopter, He also wants to rock our world! He is the ultimate Relationship Counselor. But, gentleman that He is, He’ll only assume the role of Personal Mentor in our lives if we invite Him to do so.
And most of us don’t.
In his groundbreaking workbook "Experiencing God," Henry Blackaby asks a probing question: “Suppose you had planned to go fishing or watch Monday night football or go to the shopping mall. Then God confronts you with an opportunity to join Him in something He wants to do. What would you do?”1 In brief, the possible answers include:
1. Finish my plans, then see if I can fit God’s in.
2. Assume that it wasn’t God asking.
3. Try to do both.
4. Adjust my plan to God’s plan.
Most of us know that number four represents the right answer, but is that really what we do? It can make all the difference, particularly when it comes to our love life.
What Can He Do for You?
Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives would bring us power.seeActs1:8 Paul said that the same power that raised Christ from the dead also lives in us to guide us into all truth.seeJohn16:13 We need His guidance to make right choices about whom to date or court and how to handle ourselves within the relationship.
After Jesus’s death and resurrection, He told the disciples that He was going back to the Father and that the Holy Spirit would come and take on the teaching and mentoring role that He had played in their lives. In other words, we have a person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, whose specific task is to be our Personal Mentor (PM for short). Jesus knew that we would need the Holy Spirit’s help to understand how to live out our Christian faith. We did not receive a brain dump of all we need to know to live a fruitful, God-honoring life on the day we invited Him into our heart. God’s revelation of His will is progressive. We will still be learning new things about Him when we’re eighty.
Great, you say, but what does that mean for me now?
It means you have a powerful Partner, Mentor, and Relationship Counselor who is always accessible to you. Jesus told His disciples, If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you.John14:15-16TLB The Holy Spirit will always be there to comfort you, but the Amplified Bible translation of the same set of verses teaches us that He is also our Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby. Here are some ways He functions in those roles:
- Comforter. He comforts us when we are feeling sad, lonely, unhappy, hurt, or confused.
- Counselor. He advises us, especially when we are facing tough decisions.
- Helper. He helps us in our everyday tasks.
- Intercessor. He acts as our go-between, mediating between us and God the
- Father, just as Jesus does.seeHeb7:25
- Advocate. He pleads our case to the Father like a top-notch lawyer.
- Strengthener. He provides His strength to us when we are tired.
- Standby. He is always available to us; He is reliable, especially in emergencies.
The primary ministry of our Personal Mentor (PM) is apokalupsis2 or “uncovering truth for us.” Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide you into all the truth and tell you things to come.John16:13 That means He enables us to be discerning about the other people in our lives, including our romantic interests. He unveils or pulls back the curtains in our minds and hearts, giving us knowledge, understanding, and guidance that we can’t get anywhere else. Left on our own, we are apt to deceive ourselves and make excuses for our own immature behavior. Our PM can give us spiritual eyes to see things about Beautiful Betty or Henry Hottie that will either confirm that they are a good choice for us or that will save us from a nightmare.
But that’s not all the Holy Spirit does — there’s more. He also shows us ourselves in all our naked glory and splendor.
Adjust and Repair Your Inner Self-Portrait
Have you ever noticed the eager look on the face of new parents when they pull out their wallets to show off new pictures of Junior? You see Junior in his jammies…Junior on his first day of pre-K…Junior spitting up peas. The parents don’t much care what effect it’s having on you; they are thrilled to show off their child’s great accomplishments. That’s just how your PM feels about you! He will always speak to your greatness and your potential, even when He is convicting you about some area of your character that needs to change.
Knowing how He delights in us makes it easier to take Him up on His offer to help us with a Spirit-led self-exam. He can enable us to take an honest look at both our strengths and our weaknesses and can show us where we need to make changes so that our inner portrait matches His view of us. If we want a fabulous marriage, we will take Him up on His offer to help us become the spouse He made us to be.
If you were having dinner with someone you had a romantic interest in, and he or she happened to ask to see a snapshot of your internal portrait — that means you minus the Gucci pumps, the Gold’s Gym abs, or the Super-Christian façade — would you rush to pull it out? Would you pull it out at all? Or would you change the subject and motion for the dinner check? As the unveiler, our PM wants to show us to us first, for our own good, before we get into a serious relationship with someone.
Very often, our inner self-portrait needs a lot of work in order to reflect how God views us. A poor self-image and low self-esteem cause havoc in a marriage and often result in a codependent relationship, which is far from God’s best plan. Great marriages require that both spouses exemplify godly character.
Many of us want mates (now, please!), but few singles have done the inner work required to be a godly, whole partner. We’re convinced that the lack of inner preparation for marriage is a huge part of this country’s high divorce rate. So when you pray, “Please, Lord, I need my mate!” know that He will first show you yourself and prompt you to make changes that will make you a suitable spouse. You have the choice to follow through with His program for you or to languish in the false comfort of your dysfunction. The program can be long or short, depending on your diligence.
Remember, the Father delights in you. He woos you daily. If you’ve made a commitment to Him, you are accepted in the Beloved.Eph1:6 That is your position as part of the finished work of Christ on the cross. You are already in the clique, so to speak, and because of that you qualify for the awesome kingdom privilege of having the Holy Spirit at your disposal. He speaks to you because you belong to Him.seeJohn10:27 Don’t let any well-meaning yet unenlightened friends convince you otherwise. Our PM is relentless about getting us to agree with how fearfully and wonderfully we are made and is always seeking to exchange our inner self-portrait with the one Jesus sees.
Peruse the scriptures at the end of this chapter to gain a more correct understanding of how God sees you. Engrave them on your heart. Always know that you are a son or daughter of the King of kings, and that He is not a high priest that is unsympathetic to our humanness.seeHeb4:15 He came to earth just to be with us. He experienced every possible temptation yet did not sin. He has more than earned your ear, so give Him some talk time.
The quicker we sign up and submit to the changes He wants to make, the quicker we see results. If you listen to your Personal Mentor, He will immediately go to work on you and in you. Not only is He a proud parent who is totally in love with you, but He also wants you to be a fit partner for the work God prepared in advance for [you] to do.Eph2:10NIV He wants to use your desires, gifts, and abilities, appropriately fitted to your mate’s, to share the love of God and the message of salvation. But He cannot work powerfully through you until you have given Him the chance to work deeply in you. That’s why, even though every believer has access to the Holy Spirit, not all Christians experience the many benefits He has to offer. To turn this around, we need to be open to receiving Him, then get quiet, listen, and be willing to submit to what He says.
Get Quiet and Listen
When you’re ready to watch a movie at home, you gather all the things you need to make the event enjoyable and comfortable: the big-screen television, the gourmet popcorn, the ten-thousand-calorie pizza, and the oversized chairs. In a similar fashion, when you want to have a serious talk with someone, you’re likely to choose a quiet place where you won’t be distracted, and you might even bring notes to make sure you talk coherently about whatever is on your mind.
It works the same way to cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit. The time you spend with Him is the most important meeting of your entire day, so do what is needed to make it successful. You need commitment in getting to know Him, consistency in meeting with Him, and honesty in talking to Him. Take time out of every day to wait in His presence, compliment Him, thank Him, ask Him questions, and wait for His answers. Keep doing it until your time together becomes a habit that you just can’t live without.
You hear from Him because you belong to Him. seeJohn10:27
Do you believe this? Examine any issues you may have
with this statement and take them to God.
Establish an ongoing dialogue with God; let your PM speak to you in your quiet times and throughout the day. Remember that God wants to talk to us; we do not have to assault the throne to get Him to chat. The book of Revelation tells us that He stands at the door and knocks, like a polite houseguest.seeRev3:20 He will not barge into our busy lives, break down the door, grab us by the shoulders, and make us listen to Him. So if we want to hear Him, we have to pay attention and listen carefully. James tells us we should be swift to hear, slow to speak.1:19 God speaks in a still small voice.1Kings19:12 But with persistence and practice, we can strengthen our listening skills. (Good listening skills will also come in handy with your future mate, as we discuss in Rule 15.)
If you are not sure that you can recognize or hear God’s still small voice, get to know Him better and learn of Him until you are.seeMatt11:29 Here are some specific ways you can strengthen your relationship with God:
- Get your praise on. Praise is when you reach up to kiss God and thank Him for who He is and what He’s done for you. It is the precursor to worship, which is a deeper intimacy with Him. In the University of praising God, where do you stand? Will you graduate cum laude: praising Him on Sunday mornings and when everything in your life is spiffy? Magna cum laude: praising Him even when things are just so-so? Or summa cum laude: able to praise Him though life’s killing you (like the apostle Paul in the dungeonseeActs16:25-27)? Perhaps you’re not close to graduating yet. That’s okay; get going today! The level of your praise will reveal the level of your relationship with God.
- Make true confessions. Jesus taught us to pray and ask His forgiveness for our ugly actions each day and to pray for those who hurt us each day. Don’t even think about asking Him for something if you are harboring unconfessed sins or grudges. Confess sins of omission (things you didn’t do, but should have) and commission (things you did do, but shouldn’t have).
- Make His Book your favorite book. My (Chris’s) relationship with God deepened when I committed to reading through the entire Bible, book by book. (We call it our Sixty-Six-Book Love Letter.) I chose a version of the Bible I knew I could understand easily, The Living Bible translation, and as a naturally early riser, I was up at dawn rummaging through it.
On the other hand, I (Pam) use several translations and a concordance when I’m reading the Bible so I can better capture the nuances and principles. I highlight in yellow any scriptures that God brings alive to me, and then I memorize them. You might need another approach entirely — find your own groove. We pray the Bible becomes the best-read Book on your bookshelf!
Suggestion: Read a psalm in the morning and a chapter of either the Old Testament or the New at night — or vice versa if you have more time in the morning. This strategy breaks the text down into bite-sized morsels you can chew on without cracking your teeth. After a while, you’ll end up reading much more than you planned. (Fortunately, you can’t OD on God’s Word!)
- Have fireside chats. During your time with God, thank Him and make requests of Him based on what He just showed you in the Word. Talk about whatever He brings up in your spirit. God will often use a scripture you’ve read to tell you something personal (that’s called rhema). Conclude your time with more thanks.
If your PM tells you something that you need to do during your quiet time, submit to it.
Submit has become a dirty word both inside and outside of church circles due to its misuse. We hope that it will enjoy a revival as it is critical to our relationship with God and to our ability to maintain a lifelong love relationship. Remember, Jesus was able to submit to the torture of dying on the cross because of the Holy Spirit’s power. He lives in us and gives us that same power.
Submission is the residue of true love. When we know that God loves us unconditionally and totally, we won’t find submission to Him difficult. (Love is the quality that’s often missing in marriages where there’s “trouble with submission.”) The prefix sub means to “come under.” A subway runs under the ground, a subcutaneous wound is one that is under the skin, and so on. Webster says that submit means “to yield to governance or authority.” We tap into the power of our PM when we submit to His authority and guidance in our life. It’s essential to cultivate this ability to yield to the Holy Spirit if we want to grow spiritually — and to have a healthy relationship with Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Here are some examples of things your PM might ask you to submit to:
- Stop telling “little white lies.”
- Keep your mouth shut when you really want to give someone a piece of your mind.
- Call someone with whom you are estranged and be the one to restart communication.
- Attend a midweek Bible study, even though you are a faithful Sunday church attendee and are tired after work.
- Get involved in church activities and submit to someone (who you might not feel is as smart as you are).
- Quit watching a certain television show or attending a particular social gathering, even though it may not be explicitly immoral.
Marriage provides you with a constant traveling mirror and a person to hold it up (sometimes when we least want to see ourselves). The marriage union presents a controlled environment in which God can use your mate to help you develop character. But a mate cannot, should not, and will never be your savior — only God can play this role in your life effectively. People with savior complexes get tired because they are operating in their own limited strength. Your PM is all-powerful and never tires. Submit to Him now so that you can enter into marriage whole. (If you need the Savior, turn to the Lordship Prayer on page 69.)
If we don’t submit to the work of our PM, our inner portrait will remain marred, and we will subconsciously attract the type of person our damaged self-portrait says we deserve. (Sadly, this is not even the real you; it’s just the you that you refused to submit for cleaning.) Don’t let this happen. It takes years to recover from the pain of a broken marriage, and you don’t have that kind of time, right? Right!
When you allow your PM to guide you, your life will become characterized by the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.Phil4:7 You will experience a freedom from any anxiety you may have had. (Although the issue that was a catalyst for the anxiety may not change immediately or at all, you will change). God’s peace surpasses any sight, sense, or circumstance you are facing — it goes beyond our natural understanding. Armed with this deep-down peace, you can trust God about your future, even when the clock is ticking and no one you like is giving you the time of day…yet.
Kill the “Maybe I’s”
Perhaps as you read this you’re thinking:
- Maybe I just don’t have the time for this process; I need to cut
to the chase.
- Maybe I am not good enough to have a relationship with God.
- Maybe I won’t hear anything from God.
- Maybe I am not doing it right.
- Maybe I deserve the mess I’m in anyway.
If any of these thoughts resonate with you, we urge you to kill them right now. First of all, God is never in a mad rush. He wants things done right, for our own benefit. He will show you that you do have the time. In fact, you don’t have time not to have the time with Him! Satan always drives from behind and is always negative and condemning. God always draws from the front and is always positive and encouraging, even when He chastises.
You will never regret the time you spend getting to know your PM. He will be your Friend and Relationship Counselor for life.
From "His Rules: God's Practical Road Map for Becoming and Attracting Mr. or Mrs. Right." Copyright © 2005 by Christopher Burge and Pamela Toussaint. Used by permission of WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, Colo. All rights reserved.
Christopher L. Burge leads Chris Burge Ministries, Inc., and has facilitated a dynamic young adult Bible study in New York City for the past twelve years. After stellar academic and athletic performances at Brown University, Christ went on to enjoy a successful career on Wall Street before he heard the call to ministry. He is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, where he received three years of biblical and pastoral instruction. Chris administers "tough love and straight talk" to singles young and old, imbuing biblical principles with twenty-first century pizzazz, which has become his trademark.
Pamela Toussaint is the acclaimed coauthor of such books as "Mama's Little Baby", "Boys into Men", and "I Call You Friend." A popular speaker, she began her career as a magazine editor and has published articles in various Christian and secular magazine. She has also made numerous television appearances and was featured in a one-hour ABC/Lifetime television special. Pamela is a graduate of New York City's Fordham University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications.