The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
~Proverbs 27:9 NLT
I didn’t know I needed a friend like her, but God knew. To me, she was like a sweet perfume.
I was out of school, single, looking for a job, and trying to get involved in church. I wasn’t sure about my relationship with God even though my parents reared me in a Christian home. It was confusing being told most of my life to be good, wear the right clothes, act godly, go to church, and to watch my language. But none of these outward instructions helped me to have the vital relationship with Jesus that I desired.
Marilyn was the kind of woman who smiled with her eyes, not just with her mouth. Fifteen years older than me, and married with children, God sent her into my life to show me who Jesus was and how much He loved me.
Her way of teaching drew me in. As I listened in her Sunday School classes, the Bible stories came to life, as she gave me a renewed understanding of characters such as Daniel, Isaiah, and others. Her teaching on spiritual warfare showed me I could be victorious in this life through activating Bible promises. I was alert, listening, and learning.
Most of all, Marilyn opened my eyes to know the Savior wanted a personal relationship with me. I realized that His love was not based on my works, but on His. Jesus wanted to be my friend. No one had explained that Jesus was interested in me and in the intricacies of my life, nor that He wanted me to talk to Him, and spend time resting in His presence. Jesus really loved me!
Marilyn and I laughed, cried, and prayed together often. She was always there for me, and so patient even when I showed up at her house unexpectedly during dinner.
Although Marilyn and I don’t live close anymore, she is still my spiritual mom and friend.
Have you had a “Marilyn” in your life who has modeled Jesus’s character to you? Value them, my friend, for they are a God-sent treasure.
Today, more than ever before, our world needs men and women who model the character of Jesus. It’s what our teens, college kids, and young adults need. Like us, they desire to have someone love them for who they are, to come beside them, and walk out life with them. No judgment, no criticism; just acceptance and love.Today, more than ever before, our world needs men and women who model the character of Jesus. #VineWords #disciple #friendship @DPavlantos Click To Tweet
This is what Jesus did.
He was sent to walk the dusty streets of Earth so that we could touch heaven and learn His heart of love for us. I pray my children will meet someone like Marilyn who will model Jesus to them as Marilyn did for me.
Jesus’ desire is for us to do as He did and to make disciples of all the nations. He wants us to be like Marilyn to those in our sphere of influence. He says in Matthew 28,
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
~Matthew 28:18b, 20b (ESV)
God may never call us to another country, but making disciples in our families and in our own neighborhoods is the perfect place to start. Are you willing? To those who are listening, we are a sweet savor of Christ’s sacrificial love.
Who are you discipling? Be the friend who is as sweet perfume to someone in need.
Heavenly Father, Thank You for giving me the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. He is my Savior, and Friend. Thank You for guiding me and for meeting me in prayer. Thank You for friends who have led me to You, who have helped me to grow, and have modeled Jesus’s character to me. Bless them now, Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Copyright 2020: More than a Friend: Author Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
STEPHANIE D PAVLANTOS
Stephanie Pavlantos is an award-winning writer who is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for over fifteen years, speaking at ladies’ retreats, at her church, and over the internet.
Stephanie is an ordained minister, holding credentials with Messenger Fellowship in Nashville, TN. Stephanie works for the Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department, as well as teaching their online classes.
She serves as the Social Media Manager for VineWords: Devotions and More.
She is published in Refresh Bible study magazine, Charisma magazine, and Christian Broadcasting Network. She is a contributor for Faith Beyond Fear, and VineWords.
Stephanie is a contributing author for Feed Your Soul with the Word of God (Lighthouse Bible Studies), and Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Her book, Jewels of Hebrews, won third place at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, and an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
Married for twenty-seven years, she and Mike have three children: Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie loves animals of all kinds, and has adopted into her family an assortment of dogs, ducks, goats, and chickens.
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