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Week 5 ~ Our Friendships {God’s provision and purpose}

Basic week 5It’s {Week 5} girls, and do you know what that means?!  We’re officially HALF way through this study… can you believe it?!  It’s been an inspiring, life-changing month of fellowshipping together around God’s Word, and we want you to know that you are AMAZING.  Really.truly.amazing for making time with God a habit in your daily lives, and THEN for submitting to His ways so that you can be transformed to be more like Jesus.  Seriously, we’re like proud mommas around here. :)  Promise that you won’t give up now… we KNOW that God has so much more for us these next four weeks!!

{Week 5} brings us to our next topic of focus: our friendships.  What a precious gift God has given us: real life human beings to share our lives with here on earth…

{If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.}

The Bible includes several examples of real life friendships (think David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Elijah and Elisha to name a few), and remember that even Jesus chose to surround himself with friends during his ministry here on earth.

As you study and seek to honor God in your friendships this week, here are some of the things that we can glean from this week’s Bible reading:

1.  God designed us for relationship.  From the time of creation, God recognized that it wasn’t good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).  Several times throughout scripture, the concept of  “doing life” with others is mentioned:  “Let us not give up meeting together…” , “Let us encourage one another….”, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on ….”, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…”, “But exhort one another every day…”.  God makes it clear that we weren’t designed to live a life of isolation, but rather one of community, encouraging those around us.

2. Because we live in a fallen world, our friendships are imperfect.  This week’s verses touch on forgiveness, bearing with one another, and intentionally building others up instead of tearing down.  Our sinful tendency is selfishness in our friendships, but God has a better way.  His Word reminds us that as much as it depends on US, we are to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).  Friendships won’t always be easy, and certainly friendships can’t be about a sole desire to please ourselves.  We have a responsibility before God to be givers of grace and to pursue peace with everyone.

3. Our friendships serve a purpose.  Intentional friendships are about far more than occasionally sharing time together simply to entertain ourselves (though that can be an important piece!).  Christian friendships should sharpen us in our faith (Proverbs 27:17) and help us stand strong in the daily struggle to fight off sin in order to be more and more transformed into the image of Christ.  Friendships with unbelievers glorify God when our intention is to love them for the sake of the gospel: that they might be influenced by our example, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, come to a saving faith in Christ.  What great purpose on both accounts!

In this fast paced, technology-driven world, I wonder if the face-to-face, intentional “coming alongside” kind of friendships are becoming more and more of a lost art.  Are we replacing real-life relationships with online acquaintances?  Are we hung up on the imperfections of others, or are we quick to encourage, forgive and love generously in our friendships? Even more, have we isolated ourselves to the point of hindering the gospel?  

God, help us to intentionally invest in our friendships with Your purpose in mind, so that your name might be lifted high…

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

At His feet,

 

{Week 5} Challenge:  Write a note to a friend who has “sharpened” you in your faith.  Thank them for their influence, mentioning specific ways God has used them in your life to help you grow closer to Him.  Then pray how God might use YOU to be that kind of a friend to someone this week.

{Week 5} Reading Plan:

Week 5

{Week 5} Memory Verse:

MemoryVerse-05

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Comments

  1. Thanks for another fulfilling post, Whitney. Yes friendships are very important and daily we should be asking God to fill our lives with positive people who will lift us up and not pull us down.

    Peace to you.

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Elissa! My challenge to myself today… to BE that positive person who will lift others up and love them like Jesus. Thanks for the perspective and challenge today! <3 Whitney

  2. I’m sorry, but I was wondering if you could post the memory verse for next week – or send it to me. I am trying to have the memory verses printed ahead of time for my kids, and it is wrong in the Kid’s Study. Week 6 in the Kid’s study has the verses for Week 4 Your Marriage, and the memory verse for Week 5 Your Friendships. Thank you.

    • Oh, I’m so very sorry for the confusion, JoAnn!! Next week we’ll focus on Our Children, and the memory verses are Psalm 127:3-5. So exciting to hear that your kids are studying along with you. Praying that God meets with your family in a special way! <3 Whitney

  3. Friendships are so important. .. but finding sincere ones has been a struggle for me. Do you try to keep pursuing and trying in a “friendship” where the other person gossips constantly about other people and also about you? I feel that I’ve tried to be overly nice and friendly to a few women who seem to not care for me so much… Of which I honestly have no opinion as to why… but it’s to no avail. I’m at the point where I don’t feel obligated anymore to even try to be nice. The really crazy thing is these are women from my church! I’m one of those people that can’t stand for someone to be mad or unhappy to me and I have no problem trying to fix whatever it is I’ve done wrong and I want to apologize for anything I should. But after trying so hard to do so and not even have a clue as to why they would want to gossip and say hateful things. …I honestly don’t have any desire to be around them or try to make peace with them. It’s done absolutely no good. .. And it seems they just trample on me even more… Seeing that I actually cared about what they thought. It’s freeing to not care anymore. I do pray that God will help me to find that one or two very close friendships. I do have many friends that I love and care for… but to find that one really close friend would be so great!
    Didn’t mean to write a novel. ..lol! Topic on my mind these days!

    • Hi Julie,
      Thank you so much for sharing your heart today… that was so brave. I’m so sorry that these friendships have caused hurt for you. Satan wants nothing more than to cause division in the church, and for us to give up and quit pursuing peace. While you can’t control the feelings or responses of others, God can help you to keep responding with grace and peace, as much as it depends on you (Romans 12). Have you tried approaching these ladies in humility and love, and asking them why they are responding to you in this way (Matthew 18)? Oh friend, I am praying for you today, that God will provide all that you need, and that He will lead you to a close friendship where you can encourage and be encouraged in your walk with Christ.
      Much love,
      Whitney

  4. This morning’s verses were so good for me. I have faced the fact that sometimes I can be very selfish. I teach ladies and encourage them regularly, and I’ll admit that with everything else I have on my plate, sometimes I get weary of being that friend who pulls others up. I often feel as if I could use a little lifting up myself. But as I SOAPed these verses from Ecclesiastes 4 and prayed this morning, I knew God was speaking to me about not being weary in well doing. It’s my responsibility to build others up, bear their burdens, and not withhold good when it’s in the power of my hand to do it (Proverbs 3:27). God would have me to willingly spend and be spent for others (2 Corinthians 12:15)! As I thought and prayed, God also brought to my mind several friends who, over time, have been encouragers to me, and also several ladies who thank me so regularly for the Sunday School lessons. No, I don’t need to be thanked, and I don’t do it for the praise of people, but it’s sweet that they share their appreciation.

    Thanks so much for this study. I’m finding it a huge blessing.

    • Oh Mrs. T,
      Can I be honest with you and say that I have been where you are? You are not alone, friend!! But how VERY encouraging to hear God bring your thoughts around as you read today’s verses… oh, I am so thankful that His word powerfully points us to such encouraging truth when we are weary!!! Your words are such a blessing to me, and inspire ME to keep pressing on and doing good for the sake of the gospel. He is using you mightily, friend! Thanks for blessing me today.

      Much love,
      Whitney

  5. We never know how we touch someone’s life. A smile, a hug, a letter in the mail, and other ways are opportunities to show friendship and God’s love. I love to greet at church because I love to start someone’s day with a smile, a hug, and a “I’m so happy to see you.” We never know, but, for some people that might be the only friendly thing that happens to them that day.
    Thank you so much for this study and today’s thoughts. :-)

    • Melissa,
      Yes, yes, yes!!! The cashier at the grocery store, the teller at the bank… one of my favorite things to do is to notice and thank the ones who may not feel noticed or appreciated. Oh God, may we be GIVERS, shining your love and light wherever we go. Thanks for these inspiring thoughts today!
      Love,
      Whitney

  6. I am excited for all that will come from this week of focusing on planting, nurturing and building friendships in Christ Jesus. As a mom to two little boys, I am touched by what another mother mentor in MOPS suggested: have 3 mom friends at all times – one that is older to mentor your, one that is in the same season of life as you and one that is new to motherhood that you can mentor. This week I will be challenging myself to define 1 – 2 mothers in each of these three categories and reach out to them. For the mentor mom, I will tell her how thankful I am for her being a role model for me and teaching me how to become a stronger Christian mom. For the moms in my same season, I will seek to encourage them with todays verse and let them know we are not walking alone as Jesus is our constant companion even when life is full of dirty diapers and spit up! And for a new mom to mentor, this is one that I am praying out and asking God to reveal who in my life he would like me to minister to. I believe this is a beautiful chance to reach out to a non-believer and bring her and her new baby to know Jesus and the joy he brings to our lives. Thank you for this subject and I look forward to learning more each day!
    Blessings friends.

    • Oh Casie, this is beautiful!!! I love your unselfishness and intentionality in pursuing these relationships (and am especially moved by your desire to reach out to a sweet momma who needs to know Jesus – wow!!)!! Praying for you now, that you will be blessed, and be a blessing, to those who God puts in your path. THIS is living with intention in our walk with God. Thank you, friend.
      Much love,
      Whitney

  7. MANDY PERRY says:

    BEAUTIFUL POST! I so appreciate your words here and am excited about diving into the aspects of friendship you mention here. This week’s challenge is such a terrific one! Thank you for your insight and wisdom.

  8. Building friendships has definitely been a struggle for me. After becoming married, we joined my husband’s church that he grew up in and everyone there our age were already fast friends. It’s hard to “break in” and just click with someone. I joined MOPs but a lot of them seem more affluent then me or not as “real” as me – like they don’t express their issues when we’re talking about struggles. It’s been something I’m working on. I agree with the face-to-face – it’s such a shame!

  9. I have been so incredibly blessed by Good Morning Girls. This has been such a wonderful resource for me as a new Bride. I’m so excited to be sharing this with my girlfriends, my Mom and other women. What a great, great source of encouragement. So happy the Lord lead me to this website! Thank-you for all you do!

  10. This is nice and all but I just don’t have any friends. How can I apply this week to me? Every time someone gets close to me and I open up to them, they end up betraying me and treating me bad.

  11. The concept of friendship is hard to grasp any more. As adults we’ve strayed away from the innocent friendships we knew as kids and developed into more social (clubbing, bar gathering), if-I -have-time, friendships. Which is why online friendships are so much more popular. It’s easy to be friends with someone you don’t have to talk to or make time for. I know I’m guilty of this, too, but I truly do feel annoyed with online relationships. I miss having friends to talk to, to go out with, to create memories with. My life has become so much about my kids, and with everyone else having crazy-busy lives as well, I often feel friendless.
    I do feel disconnected from people, often feeling as though I’m be judged when I walk into a room, which has created a wall that prohibits me from trying to make friends. I hate being this type of person because 1) there was a time in my life I was confident, happy-go-lucky, and 2) I know these traits are being passed on down to my kids, and I don’t want them to experience the anxiousness and withdrawal of being with people. I do want to improve on many relationships in my life and will pray for the Lord to guide me to doing so.

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