When I moved to Pennsylvania the summer of my junior year of high school, I told my family that I was not going to make any friends and instead just focus on academics and softball. I was angry about leaving the only home I had ever known and did not think that I could make lifelong friends in just two years.
For those of you who know me, reading that probably makes you laugh because I am pretty much as outgoing as it gets and I thrive off of being around other people. So it is and was safe to say that my plan was not going to work.
Sure I ran out of my school’s cafeteria crying on the first day of school and ate lunch in my dad’s office instead, but the relationships that I have formed in school and church, since moving to PA, have exceeded my wildest expectations.
Ana and Molly in particular, have been my “iron” and have taught me what it looks like to “stand united on Jesus Christ,” how to pursue Jesus in all circumstances, and how to cherish those that we interact with. I have learned how to be a better friend and see others the way that Jesus does because of their friendship.
And that is what I want to talk to y’all about today…
What does it look like for us to pursue Christ-centered relationships that spur on, support, sharpen, and shape one another?
Spur On ~ Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This one is fairly simple: are you engaging in relationships that point you in the direction of Christ? Are the people that you are spending time with giving you the desire to be more like Jesus? The Christian walk is not an easy one and so being in relationship with others who can spur you on is important.
Support ~ Galatians 2:6
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Great friends listen to your struggles and point you to Jesus through them. Second semester of my first year of college was anything but easy, but the constant prayer, encouragement, sharing of applicable Scripture and regular checking in, by God-fearing friends made that season of my life much more bearable. They let me cry and rant when I was not doing well and lifted me and my burdens up in prayer.
Sharpen ~ Proverbs 27:17
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
One of the things that I have loved most about my friendship with Ana and Molly is that they never let me wallow where I am at. They are constantly redirecting my focus to Jesus. When I ask for prayer, they not only send me what they are praying but also Scripture for me to dwell on. The challenge any of the lies I choose to believe and are always willing to tell me the truth in love. They make me a better person through the ways that they love me and pour into my life. Simply put, they are my “iron”.
Shape ~ Proverbs 13:20
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Now I need to ask y’all a tough question — are you surrounding yourselves with people that are enabling you to grow or are they leading you into trouble? I ask this because I have learned how crucial it is that you fill your inner circle with people who will help shape you and your thinking for the better. When you surround yourself with people who are actively pursuing the Lord, it will change your perspective and your actions to look more like Jesus.
Spur on. Support. Sharpen. Shape.
I am by no means the perfect friend, but my friendship with Ana and Molly has taught me so much about what being a great friend looks like.
While I encourage you all to evaluate whether or not your friends exhibit these characteristics, I would challenge you that much more to evaluate whether or not you are doing these things for your friends.