Every Friday, we’re taking a peek at how God is working in the lives of our high school students. These servants of Jesus are walking daily by faith as they navigate the hallways and relationships inside their school walls and beyond. Our weekly series will highlight what God is up to in their lives in their voices. Leave them some encouragement by commenting?

by Trever Carter

When I think of myself and the person that God has specifically and intentionally designed me to be, one character trait sticks out among the rest: I am extremely relational.

Like almost everybody else, I strive for genuine relationships, ones where I can find myself in deep spiritual conversation one minute, and laughing hysterically at something stupid the next. It’s really what everyone wants, right? It explains brokenness, and why we try to fill that with other things. But the answer is easy: because God built us to be relational. Throughout the past year, I am honestly humbled to see how God has used this trait in me, and I praise Him daily for those that He put into my life.

What frustrates me, on the contrary, is the idea of image: the way that we look at others, but more importantly, the harsh way that we critique ourselves. For me especially, I find vanity clouding my view and deadening the person that I am on the inside. More often than not, I find myself changing the person that I am on my constant quest for validation. That bugs me. I am bothered by the fact that sometimes I feel the need to alter myself around my very best friends, the ones that I go to with anything.

In Josh’s latest message of “Inside Out,” he explained that we should approach God vulnerably, with all of our mess, and all of our hurt, and be real. To me, this means approaching God with a heavy heart from burdens that I carry, from the circumstances I come, from the sin that lives in me daily! And in all honesty, that scares me—how am I supposed to kneel before God and tell Him all the things I have done wrong?

But honestly, that’s liberating. We do nothing to deserve God’s love, but it is there for the taking. Too often, the shame of my mistakes convinces me to put on a “holier-than-thou” mentality or the pressure of my friends at school causes me to dilute the faith in which I stand so firm. But when I go to sit in front of God on the day that He calls me home, He is going to look right past it all. The moments that we spend with our Creator are those in which we are most ourselves.

And this trickles down to our relationships here on Earth. Like all else, we are to model all aspects after the One Most High! And I see this in my friendships, how they are a living and breathing testament to Christ. When we model our relationships with one another after the one that we have with God the Father, they are going to and be fruitful and stand forever.

Being genuine has got to be one of the most important things in a friendship. We are all sinners saved by grace, and this leaves me so convicted! Instead of pushing my feelings and hurts down and down, I should be more than willing to go to my friends in Christ and share.

Share because they are there to listen.

Share because they are there to help.

And share because they are there to offer up encouragement.

My friendships in Christ are the strongest, healthiest relationships I have; we are all eternally minded, and it is so encouraging to know that I can be real with them, therefore making me more myself. We do not have to go through life alone, for Jesus walks with us and He gives us these friendships to push us forward.

Like iron sharpens iron, the love and encouragement from one Christian friend strengthens the other beyond belief. I think back to Matthew 7:24-27, where Jesus speaks of building on a solid foundation. Friendships built and centered around the rock that is Christ will not fail:

“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

All other ground is sinking sand.

565825_494718303883308_1511035050_nTrever Carter is a sophomore at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

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