Reflections on the Will of God

by stk

The term “mentor” originates from a character in the poem The Odyssey by the ancient Greek poet Homer.  When the poem’s hero Odysseus, King of Ithaca ventures out on a ten-year journey of exploits and adventures, he entrusts his son Telemachus to the care of his wise and trusted friend Mentor.  He charges Mentor to train Telemachus in the ways of the kingdom, and to teach him all he needs to know to become the future king of Ithaca.  In a similar way, our Lord clearly models the concept of mentorship in John 14, without using the actual term itself.  In John 13:36 Jesus says to Peter, speaking of His eventual ascension to the Father’s right hand: “Where I go you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”  Then in John 14:16-18 He speaks of the Spirit of truth whom the Father will send to be with them forever, that they may not be left as orphans.  Then in verse 26 He articulates the role that this Helper will play in the lives of the believers: “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” 


The Holy Spirit is our Mentor.  Sometimes He uses the instrumentality of godly men and women to teach us what we need to know, but He Himself assumes the primary responsibility of mentoring the believer.  1 John 2:27 makes it clear: “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”  God's preferred method of communicating is not by way of signs and wonders.  That is to say, He does not prefer to disclose Himself be means of His works.  Rather, He wants me to recognize Him by His Word.  In the sound of a gentle blowing the still small voice of His presence becomes clear (1 Kings 19:11-18).  The ideal I should be pursuing is to be like Moses, with whom He spoke as a man speaks to his friend.  Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God.”  Before I can "be still" I first have to go through that process of articulating my heart-felt needs and desires so that His peace can set my soul at ease (Philippians 4:6,7).  It's at that point that I begin to recognize the voice of the divine Mentor out of the stillness.  It’s at that point that I begin to recognize His ways in the events around me.  


In my experience three things can make it difficult for me to discern the will of God in my life.  Either I'm not fully saturated with His Word, or I'm not fully surrendered to His purpose, or I'm not fully still before Him.  If I'm not fully saturated with His Word, how will I be able to discern whether I'm hearing my own voice, or the voice of another, or the voice of the Shepherd (John 10:27)?  Abiding in the Word calibrates me so that I recognize the still small voice of His presence when I hear it.  Then again, if I'm not fully surrendered to His purpose, how can I expect Him to share His deepest thoughts with me?  I end up with a Balaam-type situation where God actually tells me what I want to hear, and I end up falling short of His best for me.  And then again, if I'm not fully still before Him, it's nearly impossible to hear the still small voice above the din of all the other thoughts crowding my mind.  So I need to quiet my soul with the peace that passes understanding by praying my way out of my initial anxiety into a place of stillness.  Then, when the Spirit of Christ speaks I recognize His voice, and I can wait patiently for him to bring His will for my future into sharper focus.  Then, when God says "Go," like Phillip I run!


Stephen T. Kia,  8/11/03