EDITOR'S NOTE: Answering life questions with biblical principles is what we do every day at 412teens. The Bible has answers to just about any question we can think of (2 Timothy 3:16). If there isn't a direct answer, then we have biblical principles to help us find what's best for each of us personally. Add to that the fact that Holy Spirit was sent to help us make good decisions, and we can count ourselves well-equipped to deal with life (John 14:16, 26, 15:26).
This blog series gives practical examples of how to use the Bible to solve life's daily problems. Hopefully by seeing these cases, you will begin to understand how the Bible indeed has answers (and we can help you find them). Take note of the Bible references and check them for yourself as you read through Cass's answer to the following question.
—Cat, 412teens Editor
Good friends and community are important to making it through the high school years, and I’m happy to hear that you were able to make good friends this year. It sounds like God has brought people into your life who can encourage you and to whom you can be an encouragement as well. The Bible shows us many groups of friends who encouraged and prayed for each other, giving us great examples of what healthy, godly friendships look like. David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18); Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2); Ruth and Naomi (Ruth) are a just a few examples. The Bible also speaks to us about what to do in difficult times and how to have lasting peace and joy even when life is hard. Let’s open God’s Word together!
Being honest and vulnerable with your close friends is not a bad thing. Growing up, I was determined that no one would ever know that I was struggling or sad or upset about anything. I thought I was supposed to be joyful all the time. I’m so thankful for friends who stood by me and encouraged me to be more honest and open with them because they cared about me and what was going on in my life. Our friends want to be there for us in the difficult times as well as the good, so closing off and making them feel like we never struggle or get stressed out in dealing with problems would only puts up walls and hinders our ability to really dive deep into friendships with them.
Dealing with stress and problems in this life is inevitable. Even Jesus endured incredibly difficult times in His time here on earth before He faced the ultimate trial—being betrayed and crucified on a cross (Matthew 27:32-44; Mark 15:21-32: John 19:17-27; Luke 23:26-43). It's perfectly normal and OK to struggle. But Jesus speaks encouragement to us in John 16:33, one of my favorite verses, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Here are a few things I would encourage you to remember and think about as you continue to do life with your friends and encourage each other:
First, remember that Jesus is your greatest friend and confidant. He understands our struggles; He lived through them. And now He prays for us and makes intercession for us in Heaven (Hebrews 7:25). He loves us and will use those difficult times to draw us closer to Him.
Second, remember that, as believers, we should be growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). We won’t be perfect at displaying these attributes all the time, but we should strive to cultivate them in our lives. Especially if we have unsaved friends and family, being an example of peace during stressful times, joy during trials, and kindness when the world is hard and bitter speaks volumes about the God you say you believe in.
Third, remember that you have an incredible opportunity to be friends with and be a light to people who do not know of the peace and joy that can be found in Christ. As you talk to them and share about your struggles, I would encourage you to share Scripture with them. Maybe start a Bible study together or offer to pray for or even with them. When you’re tempted to let life get you down, look for ways to have a positive perspective.
I’ve started looking for blessings and purposefully reminding myself of what I have to be thankful for—especially when I'm discouraged. Be as open about your faith as you are with your struggle, allowing them to see your trust in a God who cares for and loves you. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Praying for you and your friends in this season of life—that God will give you opportunities to share your faith and be an encouragement to your friends.
Have you ever felt the way our questioner did? Do you ever feel like you need to be perfect on the outside? How did you reconcile those emotions and urge to show perfection for the watching world? Share your story in the comments below!
Cass is a small-town girl with a big heart for adventure. She’s lived in three states and loves to travel with her husband. They hope to get involved in missions—locally and overseas. Her current obsessions are Harry Potter, restoring old homes, and pumpkin spice. Faith, family, and friends are her greatest treasures, and she'll never pass up an opportunity to grab coffee or spend time with loved ones. When she’s not working, exploring, or with people she loves, she enjoys reading a good book, drinking French press coffee, and watching British television shows.