Friday, August 29, 2014
“Benefits of Christian Friends”
You’re listening to The New You, the daily broadcast for people who have been made new by the blood of Christ. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s Scripture:
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (Prov. 27:17).
As always, the Bible is spot on! My wife and I have spent this week at Polishing the Pulpit, an annual conference for families. We went to PTP for the first time several years ago, and decided then that we would attend every year unless it was just not possible. To date, we have attended every year since we made that initial commitment.
PTP is a great place for families. First, the lessons there are always Biblical, practical, and challenging. Second, there are so many great people to meet at PTP! This year, there were over 3,400 attendees!
What a week it has been! As I take a few minutes to think about what I’ve learned and how I’ve benefited from the week, I can’t help but think about the major advantages of having good, Christian friends. Here are three:
Christian friends remind me that I am not alone in my faith. We all know that it’s really hard to stand up for your convictions – especially when they counter culture to the extent that so many biblical teachings do. In a world where groups such as the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation sue everyone who dares to show their religion in a public way, and in a world where alleged scientists claim that evolution is the only stance on human origins for anyone with common sense, in a world where atheism is among the fastest growing movements in the United States, it is ever so easy to feel lonely as a Christian. Godly friends who are unified in the faith help us to effectively accomplish Jude’s command to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3).
Christian friends remind me that I am not alone in my fight with sin. It’s not that the thought of my friends messing up brings me comfort. Instead, it’s knowing that their struggles are similar – if not identical – to mine. They can relate to my shortcomings because they are in the trenches, fighting the Christian’s battle every day just like I am. It’s only natural, then, that we share our triumphs and our tears; that we praise one another and pray for one another, all while thanking God and glorifying our Father that we can partake in Christ’s sufferings (1 Pet. 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:8).
Christian friends remind me that I am not alone in my family values. Some people (including Christian people) just don’t understand why Emily and I would choose to closely follow the biblical plan for the home. You know the one: where the man is the head of the house and the wife is the keeper of the home. They don’t understand why our family time (even though it’s just the two of us) is so important. They don’t get why we would choose to spend “time off” doing church work. For whatever reason, this is often the case especially for preachers and their families. And my Christian friends get it. They’re trying to live it, too. They help me not to give up or to conform to society’s view of “marriage.” They are godly husbands and godly wives. They’re happy and content. They’re excited about their homes – and it’s contagious. They are proof that God’s way is best.
These three reasons affirm the positive truth to the negative warning given in 1 Corinthians 15:33:
Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.
Let’s wrap it up: You may or may not have attended PTP during this week. If not, that’s fine, of course. But let me encourage you to seek Christian friends. Make sure that you have positive influences in your life. I need it, and you do, too.
I’m thankful for godly friends who challenge my thinking, encouragement me to live better, and excite me for heaven, where we will never have to pack up and go our separate ways.
Memory Verse: Let’s focus one more time on James 1:21. I’ll say it once, then ask you to repeat it with me the second time around.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21)
Over the weekend: Be sure to worship God on Sunday, the Lord’s day. Assemble with God’s people in your area and worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Need help locating a place to worship? Check out our interactive map that will help you find a congregation of God’s people in your area! Just go to thelightnetwork.tv/worship.
Thanks for joining today me on The New You. New episodes of this broadcast are released each weekday, Monday through Friday, from The Light Network. Archives of this program, episode transcripts, and more Christian podcasts are available there, too, at thelightnetwork.tv. If you’re interested in hearing The Light Network’s coverage of Polishing the Pulpit this year, you can listen on our website, thelightnetwork.tv, by clicking on the “TLN Specials” show. I think there will be some things there that you will enjoy.
I welcome your questions, comments, or suggestions for the show! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my voicemail number is 903-26-LIGHT, that’s 903-265-4448. I’d love to hear from you!
I’m Robert Hatfield, and I’ll meet you right here on Monday for another edition of The New You. Have a great weekend!