For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. (1 Corinthians 4:15-16 ESV)
A good guide points out interesting pieces of art, culture, and history. In fact, a guide worth his or her salt can even keep you safe from danger, as in the case of white water rafting. No doubt, then, guides fill a beneficial role. But what happens when your trip is over? What happens when it’s time to go home and return to daily living? Does a guide do life with you?
No, but a father does.
A father, mother, or mentor doesn’t simply provide temporary insight but steady counsel. Spiritual mentors impart timely wisdom through consistent relationship. The difference between a mentor and a guide is one of depth, quality, and longevity. A mentor actively, prayerfully, and biblically develops disciples in the kingdom.
Do you have a spiritual mentor, or are you simply relying on the occasional guide? Do you have a spiritual father or mother you can imitate and learn from? If not, prayerfully seek for a person to fill this role for you, just as Paul did for the Corinthians.
Are you a spiritual mentor? Who is young in the faith that you can pour into? Who is struggling in an area that God has given you victory in? Can you walk with someone through addiction to pornography? Can you disciple and love someone struggling to better know God and his word? Chances are, you have areas in your life where you have the capacity and the calling to be a spiritual mentor to others.
Be challenged to be mentored and be mentoring. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into these relationships.