Encouragement for your daily walk with God
You’ll rarely find a more dramatic conversion than that of John Newton. He is most remembered for penning the words of Amazing Grace. But in his autobiographical work, The Life and Spirituality of John Newton: An Authentic Narrative , we see some of his life before his conversion. He called himself a notorious blasphemer, a rebellious shipman, and a slave trafficker — the most wretched among us.
After his conversion, Newton became a prolific author, preacher, and hymn writer. But some don’t know that he was also a great mentor of God’s grace. He developed friendships through which he taught God’s grace.
One such friendship was with the poet, William Cowper. Cowper suffered with terrible depression. His most productive years started at the time his friendship with Newton began. In collaboration with Newton, he produced many great hymns including There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood .
One biographer noted, "Cowper, throughout [his] life, lacked personal initiative. The encouragement from Newton, however, was enough to spur Cowper to produce some 60 hymns. And when Cowper later sunk into such a depression that he nearly took his own life, it was his friendship with Newton that stayed his hand.”
Newton also played a vital role as friend and mentor to William Wilberforce. It was Wilberforce who led the fight that ultimately ended slavery in England.
Newton’s story illustrates the need for believers to find, and be, mentors in the faith. That’s what Paul had in mind when he sent Titus to Crete. The church was a mess and needed someone to instruct them in the word of God and mentor them as to how to live for Christ.
Paul insisted that he teach certain things to the Christ followers so they would reject their old, sinful life and embrace their new life in the kingdom of God. They desperately needed a mentor like Titus to help them grow with Christlike gentleness and humility.
Friends and mentors — we need them! Not only are we strengthened by their fellowship, but we also can be used to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. Titus 3.8