Today’s post is for those who counsel or would like to. If you already mentor or disciple other women you are in a position of leadership. Even if it is not an official position in your church, you are a leader to the women you minister to.
This is a sacred position of trust. Someone trusts you enough to allow you into their private life and to share with you difficult, sometimes intimate, and always painful details of their relationships.
Many women who disciple have undergone extensive training and possess great knowledge and wisdom from a biblical point of view. Because our hearts are sinful and depraved it is easy to become prideful and puffed up with knowledge.
How can you maintain a humble heart?
- Examine yourself. Ask yourself the hard questions. Do you bristle when someone has a better way than yours? Do you seek the wisdom of others? What happens when someone criticizes you? Do you listen and evaluate what is true and repent and change, or do you justify and rationalize your behavior? (see Galatians 6:4, 2 Corinthians 13:3-5, Matthew 7:5)
- Ask a close friend to tell you the truth. This is tough, and a willingness to do this is a good sign you already have some measure of humility. If you are going to take this step, pray the Lord will enable you to accept whatever is said to you, for you may hear things you are not expecting. (see Proverbs 27:5)
- Pray God would illuminate your heart to your sins. God is the Chief of the heart and He desires for us to be humble. In fact, Scripture tells us that God opposes the proud (James 4:6)
- Once you become aware of what lurks there, you are to confess those sins to God (Proverbs 18:13). Confession means that you agree that you have been wrong, that you have sinned (Psalm 32:5). If you have sinned against another person by your lack of humility then you must confess to them as well (James 5:16). Two of the most difficult words for a person who struggles with humility to utter are “I’m sorry.”
- Ask your friends and family for forgiveness and thank God for His forgiveness (Micah 7:8-9).
- Make yourself accountable to someone who is not afraid to be honest with you (Proverbs 27:6).
Are you unwilling to take the above steps? If so, you must ask the Lord to help you examine your heart and understand why. You may be fearful, prideful, or adept at rationalization and justification. As a teacher of the Word, you are held to a higher standard and your actions and attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and desires are to be worthy of imitation by those we disciple and mentor. It is a humbling thought for me as I reflect on my own heart and realize that I am not always a godly example.
My experience is that much of the sinfulness we struggle with tends to sneak in from around the edges. If it were a frontal assault it would be immediately recognizable and we would address it then. However, the heart is so deceptive and so sneaky that we don’t always see it until it has given birth to full blown sin. Be mindful of the deceptiveness of the pride that resides in your heart. Be watchful over your own heart, stay in the Word, and be willing to be vulnerable before others. These are a few of the ways you can guard your heart as you lead and shepherd other women.