"A good friend can be a sublime comfort to us in hours of loneliness. And the Christian will meet many occasions of loneliness in his pilgrimage. So we shall both be better in character and lighter in heart if we allow a due place for the forming and fostering of relationships with like-minded brethren. To start the day with a short phone call or a brief note from an esteemed Christian can be the difference between a day of victory or a day of depression and temptation.
"Generally speaking, when we are depressed and dejected, we should seek the remedy, not in private prayer and fasting, but in fellowship and friendship. Martin Luther said that a person ought not to go to prayer primarily when they are depressed, but into the company of good people. Satan is always more menacing when we meet him on our own alone. Half an hour of fellowship, therefore, when the mind is dejected, will often release the springs of our soul and will cause the life-blood of Christian gladness to flow afresh in our veins. Whatever gives us a sense of well-being as Christians is good for us. High on the list of things which brings us a sense of well-being is friendship.
A Christian must ultimately depend upon his Heavenly Father for and in all things. But that does not mean that Jesus is all we need. He is all we need obviously in salvation and for ultimately security and provision. But not in living the Christian life. Jesus is NOT all we need or God would not have ordained our vital need for church life and for other believers in our lives. No Christian can walk alone. Whoever tries to is either ignorant, unwise, or proud, and is in for defeat in their walk. It is only through real fellowship and deeper friendship that we often receive the grace we need to grow and do well spiritually.
In seeking to apply the priority and need of genuine deeper friendships in Christ, we ought to ask ourselves such questions as these:
- Am I a loner and do I remain distance from other believers because I fear closer relationships?
- Am I open to God changing me in this area of my life?
- Can I commit to showing myself friendly to those within my local church fellowship and to other believers I know?
- What hindrances are there in my heart and mind that would keep me from having deeper fellowship and friendship with others?
- Am I will to ask God to bring into my life those he wants to use to minister to me and those he wants me to minister to?
It's possible that one of the biggest needs your Christian life has is being closer to other Christians. So ask God for new and for deeper friendships. And begin to show yourself friendlier in a way that will honor the Lord. He who would have friendships must show himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Do you have one of those? If not, its about time it happened. And God has it waiting for you.
- Mack Tomlinson