As I gear up to begin (in about a month) mentoring some precious sisters from my church, I am reminded of the heart qualities that a "spiritual mother" should possess and am challenged to examine myself afresh. These are not characteristics that any of us should work at possessing, as if we could produce these in and of ourselves. Rather these are qualities representative of Christ. The only way these traits will show up in any of us depends on the relationship we have with Him - the time we spend with Him.
When we do that - spend time with Christ - the simple fact is that we begin to resemble Him, like 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." As we behold our glorious God, the resemblance to our Father and to our Savior becomes more and more striking and obvious in us.
It is a work that the Spirit of God performs in us as we look to Christ in the Scriptures and are amazed and delighted by who He is, so much so that sin begins to loose it's grip on us. He becomes our treasure and a grand transformation takes place. As this on-going transformation occurs, we discover that loving, pleasing and serving Him become our priorities. We give up our own plans to do His will.
Does this mean that we will never sin again? Of course not. But we will be so concerned with God's glory that temptation will loose it's power resulting in an even greater sensitivity to sin. When we do sin, we will be grieved and confess that sin sooner than if we were concerned with pleasing ourselves, rather than delighting our magnificent Lord.
So anyone you or I sit under for mentoring, (what we tend to call a spiritual mother) should exude Christ-like characteristics as a result of having been at His feet (time spent captivated by Him in His word and in prayer). Then she will be empowered to get up on her own two feet to obey and depend upon Him.
So, what are these characteristics? Following are a few traits you should look for in a woman professing godliness, though this list is not comprehensive. If you are searching for a woman to disciple you, look for these qualities. But do more than search for these traits in another woman, strive for them in yourself also, as you sit at Christ's feet.
1. Do you see Christ-like characteristics in her? What are they?Can you add to this list? Have you personally benefited from another woman in a mentoring situation (either formal or informal)? Would you be willing to share your experience with others here on this blog? If so, either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment and a way I can contact you.
2. Does she love God and her neighbor? How does it show?
3. Is she submissive:
* to her own husband (if married)? Is she always respectful toward him in public and in private conversations?
* to the elders of the church?
* by being in agreement with other "older, godly women" - her peers - concerning Biblical womanhood as briefly described in Titus 2:3-5?
* by being supportive of church ministries? Does she regularly attend worship service, mid-week Bible study, Sunday School, etc, where she is placing herself under the teaching of God's word?
4. Is she serving in the church – not just in her own private ways at home (both are necessary).
5. Does she talk much about her own difficulties or does she talk about and know that Christ is sufficient for all of life’s trials?
6. Is she a generous woman? Does she extend her hand (resources) to those in need?
7. Is she humble? Does she prefer and honor others by
* practicing best case analysis or does she speak ill of others and impugn motives?
* letting love cover petty disturbances, or is she bothered by these?
* giving way to her own plans to let another shine?
* speaking the truth in love to those who have offended her as Matthew 18:15 commands?
8. Where does she really put her confidence? Is it in Christ or in some sure-fire method that she uses?
9. Does she seem to have all the solutions or does she leave room for God to act through prayer?
10. Does she know and apply Scripture?
11. Is her house in order, or is it neglected? Could you say that she is the “guardian of her home”?
12. Does she consistently do her husband good and not evil (if she is married)? Is she truly his helpmate, giving priority to his plans, assisting him as the left hand assists the right?
13. Is she a nurturer, caring for her children, or, if single, nieces and nephews, or other children that need TLC in the body of Christ? Does she "wash the feet of the saints" (willingly do the lowliest task); is she hospitable; does she assists those with urgent needs; is she known for her good deeds (1 Timothy 5:10)?
14. Over all, what would you say her driving force is? Is she concerned for God’s kingdom and glory so that it affects every issue of her life, or is she consumed by something else, even if it is good?