"Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).

Men, this is our calling: to live for God and to stand with the apostle Paul in his imitation of Christ. But with this comes three challenges.

1. The life of a Christian man is examined from all angles.

This is happening whether we realize it or not. Even if you are not a mentor, somebody is watching you. At a minimum, your family—children and grandchildren are always watching.

Those of us who are mentors know our mentees expect us to be a model of faith. In fact, they have a right to expect that you are instilling something righteous into their lives just by being their mentor.

Just as a magnifying glass concentrates the sunlight into a fire-starting force, mentoring narrows the focus so others look directly into our lives. That might be a painful look, especially if we are not living as we should, but God is glorified when our lives of obedience direct others to Him.

2. The life of a Christian man is examined during all seasons.

"You have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra" (2 Tim. 3:10-11).

What Paul is describing in 2 Timothy 3 is the "life on life" experience of mentoring. During this time, Timothy examined Paul's life in the good and the bad.

From this we know that people—especially your mentees—will see your faith illustrated best when they see your foundation stand strong as the winds blow (Matt. 7:24-27).

Indeed, sometimes mentoring means talking about mountains you climbed in the past to help others face the same mountain today. What are those mountains in your life—a financial crisis, a bad medical diagnosis, a broken marriage, a job loss, a foreclosed home or the death of a loved one?

No matter what mountain you may encounter, God grants the grace to endure your troubles so you might illustrate strength for others (2 Cor. 1:3-7).

3. Christian men are more inclined to hide their struggles and weaknesses.

Most people do not typically see you for 24 hours a day. But like hidden cracks in the hull of a wooden ship, hidden sin weakens the foundation of our faith and ultimately weakens our mentoring efforts. Eventually, people—our mentees included—will see through our unfaithfulness.

Men are often inclined to hide their struggles and weaknesses. We are trained to be tough and to be warriors who do not give up.

We are, in fact, to fight the enemy by wearing the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11), but we fight best when God alone is our strength. Like Paul, we must learn to rejoice in weaknesses that drive us to dependence on God (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

Believe it or not, the act of confession and repentance is a great place to start for mentors and mentees alike. Admit your struggles today and mentor others from your knees.

"A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, and you have admired the talent of the persons who could write so well; but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of His people." —Charles Spurgeon

This article is courtesy of Mature Living Magazine.

Chuck Lawless is the author of Mentor: How Along-the-Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life. He is dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary and serves as global theological education consultant at the International Mission Board.