And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Years ago, as a young wife, I threw myself a pity party and invited a good friend to join me. I filled her ears with whining complaints of feeling ignored and unloved. Every word said “poor me” as I burdened my friend with all the ways I thought I deserved better from my husband.
In her patience, my friend let me ramble without ending the phone call. In her maturity, she didn’t agree with a single word I said. Instead, she offered a simple rebuke: “Can’t you just love him today?”
That question silenced my rant and filled me with regret. I remembered my wedding vow to love him always. He was respectful, faithful, and kind. The offenses I had built up so hugely in my mind were exposed as foolish and petty. My friend’s words were used by God to correct my attitude and change me from the inside out.
We all experience that same kind of temptation, don’t we? Self-pity says the gap between what we give and receive is much too wide. We feel taken advantage of by the staff at work. Kids seem oblivious to our sacrifices to care for them. A friend’s too-busy schedule leaves us lonely and left out. Happy couples rub salt in the wound of our singleness. In our longing for more, we’re tempted to sin in our choices, words, and hearts.
In Genesis 3, we see Eve’s battle with lies and longings. Despite the garden’s feast just ripe for the picking, she craved off-limits fruit that was “good for food and pleasing to the eye” (vs. 6). Even with the delight of “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” with God—her loving, all-knowing Teacher–she jealously tried to grab wisdom on her own (vv. 6,8). Although created to be Adam’s helper, she wanted his support of her sin instead of giving her support to his obedience. Satan’s lies turned peace and gratitude to confusion and greed. The fall to temptation devastated her life and changed everything.
I wonder how Adam could have served his wife the way my friend helped me. What if he had met Satan’s lies with the truth of God’s perfect design for their lives? What if he refused the fruit Eve offered? Could he have pleaded with her to believe and obey? In the face of a friend or loved one’s temptation, you and I have choices to make of our own.
The Word guides our response to others’ struggle with sin and doubt. First, we recognize their fight is not with difficult people or circumstances, but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is determined to oppose “him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9) and crush our faith. As sisters in Christ, we step onto the battlefield with prayer and knowledge of the enemy’s schemes.
Second, we obey God by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The fear of sounding rude or self-righteous can silence our voice. Yet God says sharing the truth of His Word and His ways is how we “grow to become in every respect the mature body of [Christ]” (v.15). With a believer tripping over temptation, you and I “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). We can help each other walk in freedom and faith no matter what comes our way.
Finally, we stay alert. Each time we get involved in someone’s fight for faith, we run the risk of spiritual injury ourselves. Others’ bitterness might harden your heart to forgive. Their angry gossip might divide your relationships. Their greed or pride might corrupt your attitude. If someone is turning away from God, “you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Pray for God’s help to stand firm or step away from spiritual danger.
As sisters in Christ, we stand shoulder to shoulder as we believe and obey our Father. Let’s be God’s voice of truth and love to those who need Him today.
Lord, I’m tempted to want more than You’ve given and go my own way. Thank You that godly women encourage me to surrender to You. Use me to help others win their battle against doubt, fear, and sin. Keep us faithful and close to You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
In what situation are you most tempted to complain or doubt God’s love?
How has God used someone’s words to help you believe His truth and do what’s right?
Who in your life needs encouragement to trust and obey God’s Word?
More from the Girlfriends
You know your daughter or granddaughter will face temptations, worries, and doubts of her own. Find hope and help by praying to the One who loves her most of all. Joanna and her husband Rob created the pocket-sized book, 101 Prayers for My Daughter, so you can lift up the special girl in your life anywhere, anytime.
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