Mike Tyson went from an undefeated unstoppable force in boxing to a complete train wreck. It only took one year to derail the Champ. There was one factor that most people attribute to the downfall of Tyson, influence.
Tyson’s early career was led by Cus D’Amato & Kevin Rooney. These guys took Tyson when he was a troubled teenager and helped him to develop discipline and overcome his destructive tendencies, which led 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 into 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 difficulties and victories of training your soul. Teaching it to be disciplined and submit to the will of the Father. Battling sin in your life. Seeing the Holy Spirit overcome your fallen nature and transform you into the image of his son.
Your guides on this journey are your mentors, elders, 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 that you are needed. Instead of saying you 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 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 are choosing 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 have a deep respect for 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, their failings or their spiritual laziness they balk and tend to go looking 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 are usually the ones who love you and want you to succeed. If you pay heed to 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 sin 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.