November 28, 2017

It's Complicated

By: Matthew Hosey [Savannah, GA]

“Encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NRSV)

Actually, complicated doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings I had last summer. My spiritual journey was at a standstill. The two people who had been a consistent presence in my life were gone—Dad had been deployed to the Middle East, and my high school youth pastor had moved to another church. I was alone, and my emotions were all over the place. Yet, whenever someone asked how I was doing, I responded with a curt “can’t complain.” I don’t know why I tried to deny my feelings; even Jesus felt sadness.

If you are in a similar place, look for the people who have been there for you all along. For me, it was my middle school youth minister. Also look for even small reminders that Jesus loves and cares for you. While on a retreat I found two smooth river rocks that remind me even now how much I need a consistent friend in faith.

FIND A SPIRITUAL FRIEND: God calls us to build up one another in love. In tough times, an accountability partner prays for us and reminds us to keep our focus on Christ. Together, “spiritual travel buddies” seek to know Christ, to study God’s word, and to love others as God loves. With whom do you share this kind of friendship? To whom will you be a friend in faith?

Katie Sweeney [Acworth, GA]

Stronger Together

Many friends have strengthened my faith by reminding me of God’s truth in scripture, gently showing me when I need to change my ways, praying with me during hard times, sending notes to remind me I am loved, and holding me accountable for spiritual practices, such as prayer, Bible study, and worship with God’s people. We need each other. In times of testing or doubt, our Christian friends can help us through. When our faith is strong, we can encourage those friends in return. How will you encourage a friend in faith this week—call, text, hug, pray?


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