By Brianna Hines
Have you ever had that kind of a friend who knew you so well she could remind you of your very identity even when you barely recognized yourself anymore? A friend who could remind you of the truth, even when all you wanted were some comforting lies or even just a listening ear as you wallowed in half-truths that deep down you knew were starting to poison you from the inside out? That kind of a friend would speak up, speak into your circumstances, and even though it hurt, she would tell you the truth, the real truth of the situation, and bring you back to a place of humble obedience to God’s Word and His character. Do you have that kind of a friend? Are you that kind of a friend?
If you never have been blessed with a friend like that, or until you find one, God has given us the gift of one in His Word. I want you to take a minute and listen to the ending of First John as if it were a letter written by that friend of yours, reminding you of all the things you had begun to forget amidst the trials and chaos of your life. Listen closely to what she might say:
I have written this whole letter to you, my dearest friend and sister in Christ, so that you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you really are saved. Your eternity has been locked in place and that fact should give you so much confidence to come before God with all of those heavy burdens you have been holding on your shoulders. He has given you a new name — Beloved — and you can come to Him as boldly and easily as a daughter runs to her dad.
So release those burdens, Friend, in prayer to your Heavenly Father. He hears you. He hears your prayers, even the ones that only come out as sobs or heavy sighs of weariness. He hears them, and when we pray prayers that align with His heart and His will, God will answer them, even if that answer is a “no,” or a “not yet.” Those answers might be hard for us to understand, but He will always give us the perfect answer for every single one of them, and we should never be afraid to ask Him for anything, to pray.
In fact, pray boldly for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when you see them falling into sin! God will fight on your behalf for those people and give them life! They are sons and daughters of God, too, and their eternity is just as secure as yours is. So pray for them! God loves that we pray for our siblings, and He will rescue them. We have God as our Father, and we no longer have to live as slaves to sin. Jesus keeps us so securely that Satan can’t even touch us! The whole world is under Satan’s power, under the power of sin, but not us! We are of God, and by the power of Jesus, we can truly know Him, the one true God, and never have to worship anything else.
I know you know this stuff, but never, ever forget it because this is the true God and your eternity that I am talking about! So be extremely careful of starting to believe or follow any other truth than this one. Put up good boundaries around your faith and your identity as a daughter of God and protect it at all costs. It is everything! And I love you far too much to let you forget it or doubt it in favor of any lesser thing.
Your dear friend and sister in Christ
Wow! Sometimes I just really need to hear those words. Thank you, John, for being that honest friend to us. The kinds of friends who remind us of the truth, even and especially when it is difficult to hear, are rare and precious gems in this world, and if you have one, thank her and give her the gift of being that kind of friend right back to her. If you don’t have a friend like that in your life, the best way to find one is to start being one yourself. Women like that tend to find each other in the world. We should all strive to be women who are constantly reminding one another of the Truth. We should always be reassuring each other of our identity in Christ and pointing one another back to God’s Word and His character. We should all be a lot more like John as friends. It is far too easy for us to get distracted or pulled away by other things in this mixed up world. Sometimes we just need the faithful words of a friend to get us back on the right track, back to the Truth.
Editor’s Note: Join UFC Women today at 9:30 a.m. at Barn (or on Zoom) or at 6:30 p.m. in the church offices for our final week of First John. The cost for the study guide is $15 if you want to go through it this summer with a friend. Childcare will be provided for the morning study. If you are interested in joining the Zoom group, please contact Jamie Harms at firstname.lastname@example.org.