To Christian Teens: To Be A Friend

aheartredeemedimageI move around a lot. I mean way more than “normal” people do (if there is such a thing as “normal”). Every time I move, I come closer to realization of just how much my friends mean to me. So a few months ago I moved to Puerto Rico (this was a big change for someone who has only lived in the United States). Anyways, I decided the move and other circumstances have led me to believe that friendship would be a fitting topic for today.

I’m pretty sure just about everyone has a friend. We were created to have a certain friendship with  God so it’s no wonder that we want to be friends with each other. It is a natural desire for us. Since having friends is important to us, I think some advice on friendship would be worth the time.

First off, we all need friends. Don’t even think about denying it. We need friends or, at least, a friend. Ultimately, God is our first and only friend we will ever need. But it is so encouraging and uplifting to have friends in the physical sense. Friends that will be there for us, no matter what.

John‬ ‭15:12-14

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 

Christians (those who obeys Christ’s commandments) are Jesus’s friends. He considers us his friends. Now tell me that isn’t neat.
What does it mean to be a friend? A friend is someone who you place your trust in and you know quite a bit about them. You probably talk about hard, intimate stuff that you wouldn’t talk about to a stranger. You know him/her and he/she knows you.

Proverbs‬ ‭27:10‬

Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.‭‭

To be a friend means being there for them in any way possible, encouraging them, loving them, giving advice that you are able to give, and maybe if you are really close and you both are willing, being accountable to each other. What I mean is criticizing each other on your strengths and faults even if it hurts. I do not want you to be all harsh and cruel, but give advice in a kind and Christian way and your friend taking it as well as he/she can. Of course, also switching the roles. We need to hold each other accountable. That is true Christian friendship.

Matthew‬ ‭7:1

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.

People will use this verse as incentive to not hold each other accountable, judge, or criticize. But if we are Christians we should. Look at the next verse after the one above.

Matthew‬ ‭7:2

‭‭For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

God was not saying “Don’t judge.”, He was just saying to be prepared to be judged yourself if you are going to judge others.

Proverbs‬ ‭27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.‭‭‬

This is so true. Our friends can help us grow in our walk with Christ. To grow we need to be held accountable.

So I challenge you today to call, text, email, etc. to a friend. Give them an encouraging word. Or just chat. You don’t know how much it means to them (or, maybe you do). Don’t you enjoy getting a call, text, email, etc. from a friend?

-G. Paige
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It’s Hard Not To Fall

imageNo matter who you are, or where you come from, you’ll always have temptations. Where does these temptations come from?

‭James‬ ‭1:14‬

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

It is different for each person. Nobody is perfect, even me. 😀 Some of my faults include: anger (I can lose my self-control very easily with my siblings) and pride (I sometimes think in my head that I’m better than another person in whatever we’re doing), but for you this may not even be a problem.

Temptation is a major reason why we sin. That doesn’t mean that it is not our own fault when we sin, it still is. Sin itself is a temptation. But it is so much harder to not sin, when it is a temptation.

‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:10-15‬

My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.

This is what King Solomon said to his people. If you read through the Old Testament you will see time and time again the Israelites fell back to their idols and away from the one and only true God. Solomon is warning them to stay away from sin, from temptation. This can apply to us too. Too easily we fall to our temptations. We literally can not stop sinning and falling to temptations. “What? Than how can we stop sinning? You’re telling us to stop. Are you joking?” is what you might be thinking. I’m serious though, we can not stop sinning, by ourselves. We need Jesus in our hearts to be able to stop sinning. Even when we have Jesus we are still going to be tempted. Everyone is tempted, even Jesus was tempted.

‭Luke‬ ‭4:1-2‬

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

Though Jesus was tempted, he never fell for it. He persevered. We, filled with the Holy Spirit, can persevere through temptation too. Remember though, it is Satan who tempts us, not God. God is never the one tempting us.

‭James‬ ‭1:13‬

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.

We will fall, no matter what, there is going to be those days when we follow the desires of our flesh. But never ever blame God for being tempted.

‭Luke‬ ‭17:1-2

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.”

See? There will always be temptations to sin, but with God we can resist temptation. “There’s hope.” you might say.

‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

This verse gives us so much hope. Our temptations will be no more than we can bear. Does that not bring a feeling of relief? Lastly, when others fall we can help lift them up. That’s what Christians are to do: lift each other up. Encourage one another.

Galatians‬ ‭6:1

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

We have help, from our friends, family, and especially God. So, whatever you’re going through continue to remember: with God you can do anything.

-G. Paige