" But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."
Godly friends exhort one another to pursue godliness. They ask tough, awkward and probing questions that dig deep into the heart and expose sinful desires. True godly friends aren't afraid to get down and dirty because they truly care for me and do not want my heart to become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Sin is deceitful, and many times, we fail to see our sin accurately. Godly friends help each other see their sin accurately by asking tough questions.
As I read Hebrews 3 this morning, I was reminded again "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert". Hebrews 3:7-8. There were so many times last year that I pulled away from God out of fear and a lack of faith that I missed what God had waiting for me. I was too busy trying to seize control of the areas in my life that had me worried instead of giving them over to God and I was lacking support from godly friends. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as it led me to spend more time with God. During this time, it led me open to hear what He wants for me verses what people think that He wants from me. One of the things He has shown me is to examine those areas in my life and those I surround myself with to see if they are encourage me to walk in truth. I have learned that when I surround myself with truth there is peace and blessing in my life verses heartache and pain. It is not just circumstances that cause us pain but relationships with people who do not always look to truth that can lead to pain as well. I found these seven questions online that made me sit down and think about the relationships in my life and what I expect of them. I think it is a step in the right direction.
_Have you been consistently pursuing the Lord through scripture reading and prayer?
Above anything else, I want to make sure that my friends are faithfully pursuing the Lord. If there is a deficiency in reading scripture and prayer, there will be a deficiency in their relationship with the Lord.
_Have you diligently pursued your wife/husband this week?
This questions applies to married folks only. Our relationship with our spouse is our second most important relationship after the Lord. If I'm not diligently investing in my relationship with my spouse, there's a problem.
_Have you seen any persistent patterns of sin in your life recently?
Sin usually isn't an isolated event. The same sin usually occurs multiple times in different contexts. It's crucial that we help each other identify patterns of sin.
_Last week you confessed struggling with [insert sin]. Have you taken steps to fight it this week?
It's not enough to just confess sin. We want to help each other actively fight against the sin that we confess.
_When you gave into [insert sin], what were you believing about God in that moment? What were you believing about yourself?
Sin is the result of believing lies about God and about ourselves. We sin in worry because we believe that God isn't taking care of us. We sin in lust because we believe that it will satisfy us more than God. We sin in anger because we feel that our "rights" have been violated. Sin is the result of believing lies.
_What is the truth that you need to believe in this situation?
We fight against the lies of sin by believing scriptural truth. We must help each other see how scripture applies to every area of our lives.
_When you had the conflict with [insert person], what were you craving at that moment?
Scripture tells that conflict is the result of cravings. James 4:1-2 says, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel." Cravings underlie conflict.