Bring the Pain
“Iron” Mike Tyson went from an undefeated, unstoppable force in boxing to a complete train wreck. It only took one year to derail the Champ. One factor that most people attribute to the downfall of Tyson is influence.
Cus D’Amato & Kevin Rooney guided Tyson’s early career. These guys took Tyson when he was a troubled teenager and helped him develop discipline and overcome his destructive tendencies, leading to a record of 35 fights & 35 wins, with 31 coming from knockouts.
In 1988 Tyson aligned himself with the flashy Don King and cut ties with his former trainers and managers. These new influencers allowed the “Champ” to do whatever his desires dictated. They didn’t confront his lack of discipline in the ring or his personal life. They thought they had found the greatest boxer in history, and nothing could change that. They were wrong.
What followed next is what happens when we lose discipline and give in to our desires:
an extravagant lifestyle,
not training for fights,
rape conviction &
The “Baddest man on the planet” was defeated by numerous opponents and, most importantly, by life itself. So what can we learn from this?
Be careful who you choose as a mentor. We are all fallen in our very nature; we all have destructive tendencies like Tyson. If your mentor is not willing to confront your deficiencies and help you to overcome your lazy or destructive behaviors, then you will miss out on the challenges and victories of training your soul. We must learn to be disciplined and submit to the will of the Father; it doesn’t come naturally. But when we learn this important lesson, we see the Holy Spirit overcome our fallen nature and transform us into the image of his son.
Your guides on this journey are your mentors, elders, and your fathers of the faith. Don’t be fooled into following flashy ministries that make you feel good. They tell you that you are important or needed instead of saying that you are flawed, and you need Him.
I once asked an elder brother for advice on leading men. He stopped and thought for a second. Then he said, “You can tell a lot about a man by the way he responds to correction.”
A good mentor will correct you when you have strayed. How you respond to that will determine what kind of mentor you choose to follow and, ultimately, the level of success you will see in your own life and ministry. It is also a good indicator of who rules your heart, you, or the Holy Spirit.
Millennials, this is for you: I deeply respect your generation and the potential you have to make a tremendous impact on the world we live in. But this is something you have to get right.
I have found that Millennials want mentorship; they want to be discipled. BUT, when you confront their issues, failings, or spiritual laziness, they balk and tend to look for another mentor who will be more encouraging and supportive.
Don’t make the same mistake Tyson made. The ones who say the hard things usually love you and want you to succeed. If you heed their direction and mentorship, you will see victory and transformation. If you follow the ones who merely tickle your ears, you will look back after 20 years and find yourself in the same place you were before, dealing with the same issues and being defeated by life and your sinful nature.
Do you have a mentor who has helped you deal with your spiritual laziness and misguided behaviors? I challenge you to write them a note today. Say thank you. Tell them how much they mean to you.