Everyone struggles. Everyone falls. Everyone needs a helping hand to pick them back up. But who is supposed to be that helping hand? Whose job is it to lift someone up when they stumble? And let’s make it personal — when you are the one struggling, who do you run to for support?
Well, there are a few answers to this question. The number one answer is God (of course). He will always be there to help and comfort us, no matter what the situation. But what about here on earth? Who is physically here to be an encouragement to us when we stumble in our spiritual walk?
It’s an important question. One that could make the difference between growing stronger in your relationship with Christ, or walking away from what is good and right.
Think about it this way: imagine that you are taking a walk and you come to a bridge. What does this bridge look like? Let’s say that it looks really old and frail. There is no way on earth you would cross that bridge, am I right? But, what if this was a brand new bridge in tip-top condition. You probably wouldn’t think twice about crossing. The condition of the bridge makes all of the difference!
The same could be said for our support system during a time of need. What support do we run to during a time of crisis? Some people bury themselves in non-stop gaming. Others run to their friends. If you’re anything like me, I have a tendency to throw on my earbuds and drown myself in music until I eventually feel better. Maybe that isn’t enough for some. In those cases, their coping mechanism gets more serious. They might run to substance abuse or pornography to shut the world and its troubles out. These are no better than our faulty bridge. None of those can be trusted to help us in our continued walk with the Lord. These are not the things we should be running to for encouragement. But if this is the case, then who or what are we supposed to run to? Did the Lord put any sort of support system in place for the Christian young person struggling to grow in today’s culture and temptations?
The answer is yes!
I would say first and foremost, it is our families. Let me illustrate with a personal story. Last year I started attending a local Scottish school. Here, it is not uncommon to find kids ditching school. I don’t mean something as silly as maybe four or five times in a year. I had friends who would ditch school once or twice a week! The first time I realized this I was shocked. Why would students even consider doing something so crazy? I love school! Then the pressures started getting to me. Let’s just say the temptation was real. I found myself just imagining ditching school on many occasions; at times weighing a day’s freedoms with the consequences. Who did I run to for help to fight the temptation? Well, I could have gone to my school friends, but guess what they would have encouraged me to do? Yes. Ditch! Instead, I ran to my family. They helped me not only fight the temptation, but work through the struggles that were pulling me in all directions.
You might be facing other problems in school, and some of you are able rely on your families for good Godly counsel the same as I do. Maybe you cannot relate. Some come from broken homes where Godly counsel can’t be found. This being the case, who should we run to?
We as the church are called to support and encourage one another. But how do we do this? How do we support one another as a church family? The answer is simple. We as believers are called to lift up one another and point each other to our ultimate comforter: Christ. When we see a brother or sister stumbling in their spiritual walk, we need to humbly point them to Scripture and show them what God has to say about the matter. When we see a friend struggling with a personal issue, we ought to go to them and bow our heads with them in prayer. Here are a couple of examples from Scripture:
” Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For 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! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” –Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. –Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)
You see, when we’re supporting each other, what we’re really doing is pointing these people to God and helping them see where their true help lies. Another example is found in James 5:13-16 (ESV):
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
We are the church. We are a family of believers. The reason why it is so important that we support one another and treat each other like a family is because we are one. And as a family we are to continually be encouraging each other in our walk with the Lord, during the good times, as well as the bad. So the next time a temptation or struggle hits you between the eyes, just remember who has your back!