"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
"Two are better than one…if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" -Ephesians 4:9a & 10
"And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken." -Ecclesiastes 4:12
Many of you have probably heard or read those verses before. Fellowship is something that is highly encouraged especially in the New Testament, and one of the reasons we have churches is for community. We need each other. God even said in Genesis 2:18 that it was not good for man to be alone. When we stand united, we do not fall easily, like Ty said in his powerful guest post. But "if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand" (Abraham Lincoln quoted it in a famous speech, but it originally came from Mark 3:25).
However, Satan also knows about this secret weapon of ours (Remember, he's much, much smarter than you!). Therefore, he does everything he can to pull us apart, to put issues between us.
A few weeks ago, my sisters and I were fighting over how high the fan should be on at night (we share a room). One of my sisters wanted the fan to be on three (the highest), while my other sister wanted it to be off. And I wanted the fan on the second level. It was pretty hot that night, and it's harder for my sister and I to fall asleep when we're really hot. My other sister, who wanted the fan off, argued that she got sick whenever the fan was on two or higher. We were all kinda sick already, too, and had some big events coming up, but still, my other sister and I insisted the fan had to at least be on. I argued that if the fan wasn't on, we wouldn't be able to get better if we couldn't even sleep! We fought over the fan for about five whole minutes, maybe longer - until one of us went to a parent. Another five minutes, and we still weren't satisfied. One of us was pretty upset, sweaty, and we were all angry at the other to some degree. We were pulled apart.
Sounds like a silly thing to fight over, doesn't it? Fighting over a fan when there were people sleeping outside that night in the heat, with no other choice! But it gets us. This is actually an argument we seem to have quite often, and yet we still find a way to fight over it. The devil just has this way of getting us divided over a fan. But that's how he works oftentimes. He uses the simplest, smallest (and often the dumbest!) and most useless things, and boom, we're all arguing over it. Satan uses the same old tricks over and over, and we still fall for them, over and over. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. Especially when we're tired, we've all fought over seemingly "important" things at the time that only ended up tearing down our relationships. But don't use the "I'm tired" excuse for fighting. Satan will pounce on that. He'll pounce on every weakness, and he will show you no mercy. Brothers and sisters, we are ALWAYS under attack! We are ALWAYS in a constant spiritual battle, and we need to remember that! Satan will take anything and twist it around to pull you apart. We need to be ready. We need to be grounded in GOD'S WORD so that we can counteract the lies the enemy tries to throw at us (see Why Memorize?).
He grabs onto little lies we tell ourselves and creates a stronghold off of it. He whispers in your ear and tells you that such and such doesn't like you for whatever reason, and that you should now stay away from that person or something like that. And you believe it, and let it take root in your heart.
The question you need to continuously be asking yourself, then, is "Is this true?" The lies go deepest and are most believed when you don't question it at all. You need to take hold of every thought he puts into your mind. As 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, "Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good." Don't believe everything you hear. Always, always, always test it with the Bible! And let me just say this from personal experience - if you have an issue with a friend or have been hurt by them, please let that person know and resolve it right away!
A few years back, I was hurt by my best friend, thought she didn't care for me, and was really jealous of the attention she was getting. Instead of addressing the problem right away, I let it grow for another year! The following year after that, I almost completely cut her out from my life and ignored her, without telling her why, without ever voicing my pain. I was hurting and I didn't know how to deal with it. Keep in mind, this is my best friend we're talking about - the amazing girl I've known since I was two years old and grew up with! But still, I let myself dwell on the lies Satan was feeding me, and I was this close to losing my friendship with her. Thankfully, after a little less than a year of ignoring her, God put it on my heart to apologize and make up with her. We were able to clear up everything and move on, and I learned that the vast majority of the things I had been hurt by weren't even true or directed towards me at all. But because I didn't try to address the problem right away, I missed out on more than a year of memories. A year of friendship, support, laughter, and fellowship.
The worst part is that this whole silent-argument thing with my bestie was based on a single lie that Satan told me. A lie that I didn't question, a lie that told me I should stay away from her because of our differences. He tore us apart - no, I let him tear us apart. I let myself believe the lies, and I have paid the price.
Family, please don't let Satan tear you apart from your family, your friends, your acquaintances, etc. Community is so essential in the Christian life. I highly encourage you to find a group of Christian friends you can surround yourself with, who will encourage, strengthen, and learn alongside of you. Don't let anything come between you and them. Address any problems that come up right away, and don't delay it. It's a scary thing to do, but I guarantee you that it'll be so worth it in the end! (And keep in mind that GOD never lies. He doesn't beat around the bush, make up excuses, or try to pull you apart. He wants you to have community because He knows it's best for you.) Nobody's perfect, and you're not going to get it right 24/7, but I pray that you will try your absolute best- not for me, but for the sake of your friendships and because that's what Jesus would do!
But God's mercies for you are new every morning. They're new. It's like the first time you see a homeless person on the street, and you're just flooded with emotion for that person. But for us humans, the next time we see that person, the emotion we feel for that person often slowly dwindles. It's not the same with our amazing God, though - He feels an emotion stronger than that first time, every single morning. Let's dwell on His truth and spread His light! Let Christ be the glue that keeps you together. Remember- with every Christian that you meet, you automatically have the most important thing in common: Christ. Don't dwell on the differences and let Satan make you enemies of each other. Stay rooted and grounded in Christ. And I pray that you will let nothing pull you and your loved ones apart.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."