Last Sunday, we continued our series, Propel, by sharing the connection between our spiritual growth with our friendships. The main point from Sunday’s lesson was that God uses people to propel our faith.
Think back to your time as a teenager. Who impacted your spiritual walk? Was it a small group leader? A pastor? A teacher? A friend? While different stories from different people will have different characters, the common factor in every testimony is SOMEBODY reached out and made an impact in another’s life. It’s true for all of us. Anytime you hear a story of someone’s journey toward God, you always hear about a relationship with God and an important relationship with another person. God uses people to propel us forward in our faith. But how do you make it happen? How do you get those kinds of people in your life?
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
These verses do not say to avoid foolish people at all times. These verses do not encourage you to stay in a bubble. Jesus regularly reached out to the least, the last, and the lost, and He has called us to do the same. However, even in Jesus’ ministry, He had a smaller group to connect with on a regular basis. He was close friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 11). He had twelve disciples. Out of the twelve disciples, He had closer earthly relationships with Peter, James, and John, whom He took up to the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17).
The relationships I am writing about today center around the question, “Who is in your inner circle?” Who are your partners in this journey we call life? Who can you call upon to help you in a time of need? Who do you turn to for godly advice and support when you need it?
We have been created for relationships because we were created in God’s image. God himself, has three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Adam and Eve existed in perfect partnership before the fall. God’s greatest commandment to us is to love God and to love others, which can only happen in the context of relationships. Paul wrote his New Testament letters for the encouragement of other brothers and sisters in Christ. These biblical concepts demonstrate that we need healthy relationships in our lives. It’s in our DNA.
3 Keys to Building Better Relationships
Jeff Vanderstelt, pastor at Doxa Church in Washington, leads their church into what he calls DNA groups. These groups consist of 2-3 people in which people can be truly vulnerable and encouraging to one another. Chances are, these groups form out of a regular small group. These DNA groups operate from three guiding principles:
Discover Truth in Scripture
Nurture these truths into healthy relationships
Act in faith to obey what God has called you to.
The first key to building better relationships is discovering truth in Scripture. In other words, do you have people whom you can talk to about the “God stuff”? Are you regularly reading the Bible together and praying for one another. If you want to grow closer to God it starts by learning more about the God you’re wanting to grow closer to.
Second, nurture these truths into your heart for health relationships. In other words, do you have people whom you can talk to about the “life stuff”? Life is full of ups and downs, and we are stronger together when we have people that we can connect with on a deeper level. Beyond debating which city has the better sports team, do you have someone that you can share your successes, failures, fears, and excitement with?
Finally, if you want to build better relationships, act in faith to obey what God has called you to. Do you have people in your life whom you can talk about the “dream stuff”? You don’t have to search for people who want to tear you down… the world has plenty of those people already. But do you have people who speak encouragement into your life? Do you have people who affirm your purpose in God’s calling and mission for your life? Do you have someone that encourages you to take risks for your faith? to flip the question around… is there anyone in your life that YOU are encouraging to take a risk in their faith?
As humans, we need people because we’ve been created for relationship. As Christians, if we want to grow and propel in our faith, we need strong relationships to help us take that next step.
Do you have those relationships in your life?
Do your teenagers have those relationships in their lives?
If you’re looking for healthy relationships, I encourage you to check out our Life Groups at North Ridge Community Church. If your a student is looking for connection, don’t miss our Tuesday Night Small Groups at Saddlecreek Coffee Co., 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Life is too crazy, busy, and stressful to try and go at it alone. Take that next step in your faith and remember that God uses people to propel us forward.