147,077 Fans   4,312 Followers  

What makes friendships run deep…

I’ll never forget sitting in the classroom and hearing the final school bell ring, signaling the onset of the weekend.  I was in the sixth grade, and the big party day was finally here!  One of the coolest girls in school had invited me – shy, nerdy, awkward me - to join the large group of girls at her house for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday.   I felt like I had arrived.  After all, these were the girls that the football boys picked to cheer them on at recess.  And I was going to the party.

The present had to be just right.  I was a saver, so the thought of spending my own money made my cheeks flush for sure, but this was an extra special event.  I hemmed and hawed and surveyed each aisle carefully until I finally found it.  The perfect, most beautiful  Pepto-Bismol-pink-colored purse.  Oh yes, I can close my eyes and see it now.  The price was more than I would have normally spent, but it was a sacrifice this sixth grader was willing to make, seeing as how my reputation was on the line and all.

I ran to my locker and grabbed the gift I had picked and wrapped with so much care, then rushed outside to find my friend and the rest of the party girls congregating at the bus’s folding doors.  But as I approached them, their faces looked confused. In an instant, my feelings of elation turned to despair.

I’m sorry, I changed my mind.  Maybe next time. You understand, right?”

I sobbed all the way home and then late into the night on my momma’s lap, with the Pepto-pink purse laying beside me as a reminder of my fresh wounds.

And I learned that friendships solely based on shallow, worldly things – and my own selfishness - often lead to disappointment and emptiness.

_________________________

college girls

Fast forward a few years to a secular college campus.  We were eighteen and thought we could conquer the world, until the world humbled us big time and we recognized our great need for Jesus like never before.  Our futures were uncertain, our flesh was weak, and our resolve was challenged.  So we studied our Bibles together.  We circled up and sang worship songs and held hands and prayed late into the night about things like college majors, boys, and begged for God to save us from Organic Chemistry. And we gave Jesus every bit of us, this time in full surrender.

And I learned that just as iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another (Prov. 27:17).

hot mommas2
Fast forward a few more years to a life changing phone call, too late in the night to resemble anything close to good news.  We had just begun our families, and these amazing young mommas were quickly becoming my lifeline to sanity amidst spit-up and sleepless nights and toddlers who wouldn’t obey.  Following that devastating phone call, God bound our hearts together in ways that went much deeper than play dates and the swapping of maternity clothes.  We begged God to carry our widowed friend, and cried out to our Sovereign Father to be a father to the fatherless.  We swapped meals, home improvement projects and met needs over and over.  We held each other’s hands through hard diagnoses, sick children and through spiritual battles warring for every last ounce of our strength.

And I learned that especially when you know the love of God, it is an honor to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:12-13).

Tammy chemo
Fast forward a few more years to a doctor’s office waiting room.  I waited impatiently for her appointment to be over, praying the entire time that it would be nothing.  A harmless lump and nothing more.  But God had something beautiful in mind.  Friendships taken to even deeper levels, strengthened by a great God who can even use cancer for good.  There were pre-chemo pedicure parties, encouraging Bible verses written on 3×5 cards, a shopping trip dedicated to wigs, head scarves and lots of laughter, and desperate post-chemo nights when all I could do was pray, read scripture aloud, and run my fingers through her thinning hair.

And I learned that two are better than one, because one can help the other up (Ephesians 4:9-10).

Growing up is hard.  But growing up in Christ – hand in hand together – is worth the fight.

Bear with.

Build up.

Believe in.

Wrestling for on our knees, all the while, looking to the One who holds us in His hands and binds us together as we grow and evolve and change more and more into His image.

Oh that I would lay aside myself, and love like you, Jesus.  And this is what makes friendships run deep… 

 

At His feet,

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Hide me
Sign up below to receive free study materials!
Enter your email address:
Show me