Building Faith-Focused Support

There are few things more damaging than the influence of close friends who aren’t in step with God. I’ve seen this happen in my own life, which is why I strive to surround my daughter with Christian influence. She’s fourteen-years-old and soon she’ll be participating in more activities on her own, like going to the mall with a friend, or babysitting at a house with unsupervised access to a computer and phone. When she’s out of my sight I need to know that I have given her the necessary tools to handle herself appropriately.

The nurture of Christian friends reinforces what we teach, rather than tearing it down. And we can start building that support system while they are young.

I take Madison to youth group every Friday night, and to church on Sunday morning, and I pray that God will bring people into her life that will sharpen her.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17, NIV

Iron sharpens iron, but sharpening is especially vital in the early years of adult development. From the ages of 16-25 many decisions are made that change the course of our life for good or for bad. Having faith-focused friends that keep you from falling is vital. In fact we’re often more likely to confide in our friends than we are in our parents at that age. With that in mind we have to wonder what advice they’re receiving.

I have knocked on doors to get my son friends because he was too shy to do so himself. He’s now 20-years-old and his closest friend is a boy I set him up with when they were about 5. Both were home schooled for a good part of their lives and I always knew that when he was at their house he would be dragged out of bed for church in the morning. In addition, we have made an effort to make our house a fun place for kids to hang out so that we can be there to witness the relationships that they form.

As we raise and nurture these little ones into adulthood, I pray that God will surround our children with faith-focused support. We can start building that system now so when they do finally step out on their own, they’ll have a foundation.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
Time-Warp Wife

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  1. says

    So very, very true. We are working on that for our children too. Our daughter is 16 and lives with her mom. She has some friends that are faith filled and some that are not. We pray that the faith-filled ones continue to have the strongest influence. Our boys are still young and live with us. We are working in meeting families that have children their age so that we can help them to build friendships with boys that are a positive, godly influence in their lives now and pray that they will learn to form godly friendships as they get older too.

    Thank you for this. Such a great reminder, Darlene.

  2. says

    Though I have friends who are not believers and Christians whose beliefs are not necessarily in line with my own, I make sure I go to certain friends for advice, especially regarding marriage and relationships. I have noticed that too many people don’t show respect to husbands…and that is something I strive to do in every conversation.

  3. says

    As always, Darlene, your wisdom is worth sinking our teeth into and the take-home for me is about being both intentional and aware, as well as available.

    Having worked with teens for the last 15 years, I’ve seen firsthand how easy it is for our “good” kids to slip into unfortunate situations, many of which could be avoided with an extra bit of accountability and face time. Even great Christian friends make mistakes. It is such a challenge for parents to not assume that their sweet, Godly focused kids will always make the right choice simply because they are connected with the “good” crowd. I’ve witnessed too many good kids make bad choices over the years.

    In my opinion, I think this is why it is so important to cultivate a home base where there is lots of parent/teen interaction (and even with friends) and why it us necessarily to be available to listen to the heart as well as the words coming out from our tween through twenty-something children. Fostering this deep, honest relationships requires a huge sacrifice of time, but may also offer the extra measure of accountability. Knowing they’ll be connecting with mom or dad later on that night, a teen may choose to turn down the narrow path instead of the wide one. If a problem does arise, having this authentic and intimate relationship will helping a great deal in navigating through any mistake with grace and love.

  4. Liza says

    Thank you, Darlene! My children are still very young, but as a former youth group member and wife of a former youth minister, I would advise all parents to be cautious with encouraging relationships with youth group kids versus who the child would choose for him/herself. I personally was allowed to go on my first date with a boy who was a very active member of my youth group. He asked my parents if I could go with him to visit his shut in grandmother. Innocent enough, I guess. However, it ended up with his grandma in her bedroom and he and I left alone in the living room where it quickly became obvious that his plans were less than honorable. The same warning applies to same sex friendships. I learned more about sex, drugs, and alcohol from girls in my youth group (good girls, by parents’ standards) than I did at public school. Anyway, just thought I’d share my story in hopes it might help some of you.

  5. says

    Good thoughts ladies, thank you! I agree that the “good” crowd isn’t always the best crowd. I know when I was growing up I dated “church” boys. Not necessarily Christian boys in the true sense of the word. They talked but didn’t walk the faith. When it begins at home we can guide them to see the difference and to seek the best.

  6. Anita Deal says

    My husband and I feel that the words “good” and even “Christian” are too hazy to be of much help when guiding young people in choosing friends. Rather, we prefer asking, “Is this person a GROWING Christian?” “Do you see him/her desiring to be Christ-like?” “Does he/she strive to make God-honoring choices?” “Is he/she growing in Christian maturity?” Being more specific challenges the thinking deeper than just choosing friends who seem to be “nice Christians.” Also using Scripture adds a punch of wisdom and authority from GOD Himself . . . . . . Psalm 119:63 “I am a companion of all those who fear Thee, and of those who keep Thy precepts” and Proverbs 13:20 “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

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