Your Circle Matters!

Are you surrounded by people who push you in your faith? Make good decisions? Are a good influence?

A few weeks ago, one of our Reasons for Hope team members sent me a devotional written by someone he knows to offer as a guest blog when an opening comes up in our calendar. Well, today is the day!
We are privileged today to be blessed by a guest blog, written and shared by Lacey Reitz, a remarkable young woman that I want to write about for a moment. Lacey is the product of a godly Christian home with parents who did not shy away from spiritual conversations and answering tough questions as she matured in her faith. As a result, I believe, Lacey came to claim her faith as her own and now strives to proclaim the hope she has in Christ to the rising generation of college-age women with whom she is in a place of influence. She currently serves as the Assistant Coach for Raiders women’s volleyball at Northwestern College in Iowa. She wrote the insightful missive below to share as a devotional with her players.

When Jesus Saw Their Faith

I’d like to start by sharing this passage from Mark:

Mark 2:3–5 NIV
Some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by the four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 

Read that last line again.
When Jesus saw THEIR faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
It was not just the faith of the paralyzed man that healed him; it was the faith of his friends. This is why who and what you surround yourself with is so important. Your circle matters!
1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” Do not let the people you spend time with and the things you are doing poison your life. This concept is also expressed in Proverbs 12:26 NIV, as it says, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Evaluate your circle. Are you surrounded by people who push you in your faith? Make good decisions? Are a good influence? Or are you spending time with people who put you in compromising positions, open your heart to things that it shouldn’t, and live out things that aren’t truth?

Can YOUR Faith Heal a Friend?

As sinners, we are so easily led astray, but because of the love of Jesus, we have the power to feed ourselves with godly things, put ourselves in a godly environment, and live life in a godly fashion. Northwestern Volleyball provides us with a remarkable opportunity to experience those godly surroundings.
Evaluate yourself as a teammate. Do you impact your teammates positively? Does your faith course through the team? Being a part of a team is so incredibly special, as confirmed in the verse here.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 NIV
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

You have been blessed to be a part of this team. Be sure to be a blessing to your teammates in return. Pick them up when they are down. Support and encourage them. Let your faith in Christ save them in a time of need. Work together to lead each other in light instead of falling into darkness. Other people do not get to be a part of the special thing you are a part of. Do not take that for granted.
The devil attacks us every second of every day. We are going to fall sometimes, and we can’t prevent that in our own power. Thankfully, we have each other. More importantly, however, we have Jesus to rely on, the perfect friend.
Lacey Reitz embodies the end goal Reasons for Hope is pursuing with the next generation—producing trained and equipped believers to boldly stand on the Word of God. Though I haven’t asked her, I would daresay she would name her parents as those among her heroes of the faith. Indeed, the primary spiritual training of young people should occur first in the home. It is also  noteworthy to add that God holds today's Christian parents accountable just as He did the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6–9, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."

Kids need to see faith lived out through the good, the bad, and the ugly—up close and personal, day-by-day—and feel safe asking questions and sharing doubts about their faith.

Though studies show that 75% of kids who are part of a strong evangelical church leave the church and any connection to Christ from age 18–29, 25% are staying. This research also shows five common things that were true of the 25% who DID NOT leave the church and walk away from their faith.1 Without a doubt, the influence of a Christian home has decidedly long-term effects on Christian youth staying committed to their relationship with Christ.
Kids need to see faith lived out through the good, the bad, and the ugly—up close and personal, day-by-day—and feel safe asking questions and sharing doubts about their faith. Parents, that’s our job, and what a privilege it is to partner with our Lord in this adventure called parenthood. 
So today, I want to challenge Christian parents to continue on this journey with perseverance, knowing that, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24). I pray that seeing the spiritual fruit of parental investment through Lacey’s shared devotional will serve to encourage and embolden you to be a hero of the faith to your own children. And when it comes to circles, your family circle matters most of all.
1 As shared by Josh Denhart, January 8, 2015. kidminscience.com/the-simple-things/
To answer the questions you or your children may have about God, creation, and the Bible, I encourage you to purchase a copy of our book, Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking about the Bible (That Adults Want to Know, Too) by clicking HERE.
HELP US REACH 10,000 DOWNLOADS OF OUR APP!  Our app is FREE and is designed to encourage you in your walk with Christ and to train and equip you in staying bold in your faith. Just click HERE, and look for the blue asterisk on the black background.

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