Guest Author - Michelle L. Pendergrass
Life coaching seems to be pretty popular these days, with good reason. People continue to search out ways to make life better. Life coaches offer positive advice, encouragement, praise, and compassion. They also help individuals set goals and hold the person accountable.
I don’t think the concept is new, though. If you add the modifier “Christian” to it, what it really says is “discipling.” Reading the New Testament, watching Jesus live out daily life, gives me a clear indication that He is to be our number one life coach. Everything we need to know is laid out. He warns us of the evil that lurks, seeking to destroy us, but more importantly, He gives us hope around every bend.
In Hebrews we are told that “faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Jesus understands that this life is hard, painful, and just downright ugly. We, as humans, tend to hope for the pain to go away, for the hard times to end, for everything to be perfect. The message of the New Testament is that what we hope for is a reality. It just isn’t here, it isn’t right now, but it is real and Jesus came so that we could know this.
The difference between a mentor and a coach is that a mentor lends the idea of being above, of having knowledge the person being mentored doesn’t yet have; a giving from the top down. Coaches are on the playing field with you, right there next to you, getting dirty while they teach you; a parallel giving.
Jesus was on the playing field with us. He got his hands dirty while he taught us. As our example, he expects us to do the same. We don’t have to travel to far-off, exotic countries to be what Jesus asks. What we need to do is take interest in someone: a person at work, a friend online, someone at church, a neighbor. Then we need to commit ourselves to them as Jesus committed Himself to us. We need to love them as He loves us—faults and all. In deciding to take interest in someone, we can be an example that will help motivate him or her move closer to God and discover His desire for them in life.
We should be cautious when following Jesus and coaching someone that we do so with humility. Committing to a venture such as this while seeking something only selfish things will be detrimental. Our motive should be a heart willing to serve the way Jesus set the example.
If you desire a life coach, start with Jesus. Let Him guide you through His Word. In the book of James we find this verse, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting.” (James 1:5-6) Be certain God will give you the wisdom you desire and will lead you the earthly coach He has prepared for you and the one He prepares you to coach.