In part one of my article I encouraged you to bypass my road to failure and begin looking for a mentor. For some reason though, I feel like many people will not do this. There is something in us that blocks us from making wise, healthy decisions. Biblically I suppose it is the sin nature we are all born into. But, in Christ we are new creations, we have the Holy Spirit on our side fighting and advocating on our behalf. So in reality, it’s you and your laziness. Wouldn’t it be better to learn without failing? Surely a cyclist would prefer not to get into an accident because they missed an oncoming obstacle that could have easily been avoided.
So let’s assume you’re on board, When deciding on your drafting partner it is important to follow behind those who are following Christ. You need someone who can share wisdom and act as an early warning system for your life.
I don’t believe we ever grow out of this need. Though at times we must handle situations on our own, there are times when we need to draft off the faith and experience of others.
“Carry each others burders…for each one should carry their own load,” Galatians 6:2,5
We see the example of biblical drafting throughout the New Testament. The disciples drafted off Jesus in the three years of His earthly ministry. Timothy drafted off Paul on his missionary journeys. The early church drafted off Paul and the other disciples as they faced difficult circumstances.
It is not enough to simply follow closely behind your leader. A true disciple must heed their leaders warnings.
The road of life, like the open road, has some unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes our circumstances are by our own design; sometimes they are thrust upon us. Just like communication within a pace line is important to minimize injury, biblical discipleship can help minimize unnecessary pain.
Hazards though are not always obvious. Like a squirrel scampering across the bike path just after dusk, you can’t always see them coming. We need people in our lives with more experience to grab us by the arm and say, “STOP THIS IS A DANGEROUS ROAD!!!” It is true that many people learn only through experience. But why? Laziness? Pride? Fear? It’s far better to obey the instructions of the leader than to end up in the brush on the side of the path.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
In life, we often surround ourselves with “yes people.” Though this, “don’t rock the boat” attitude may make social situations less tense, it can be detrimental to our personal growth. What we need more of is people who will speak difficult truths to us whether we want to hear them or not, and we need to willingly accept and act on those truths. Otherwise all the truth in the world can’t save us from ourselves.
It is important then, when choosing your drafting partner, to choose someone you respect. For me one of those men was Mike Mitchum, my former boss and friend. One of those formative discussions we had related to a girl I was dating at the time. The substance of the conversation had to do with our relational dynamics while “taking a break” code for “broken up but in denial”. I remember sharing with him how well I was handling it. I was so proud of myself. So, you can imagine my surprise when I received the response “I don’t think that is a very godly goal, Bryce.” He began to explain the difference between goals and desires. A godly desire may be the restoration of a broken relationship. A Godly goal is more personal and doesn’t require intervention from others. It is specific in nature, measurable in progress, attainable by you, Realistic in size and scope and Time specific. My misunderstanding of godly goals was the scampering squirrel in my path leading me to the thorn infested bush on the side of the path. My partner warned me and at least this time, I listened.
There are crucial elements to finding a suitable drafting partner that I will discuss in my next post. Until then, spend some time in prayer, and ask God to lead you to the person(s) that can help you grow.