Help Pull Me Up
Verse 12 …that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Yesterday we talked about the negative influence bad friends can have on our life, today we will start looking at the positive ways our friends urge us on to proper worship and how we can, and should, spur on our friends to lives full of pure praise.
I think we would all agree that there is nothing like having a good friend with whom you can share your deepest hurts and greatest joys. How much more important when this friend can be a source of spiritual encouragement. Paul often ended his letters to the early churches with thanks for those who had encouraged and helped him in the ministry.
So what are some of the things that mark a true Godly friendship? This passage seems to list three things – thankfulness, prayer and working side by side in ministry.
Thanking our friends may seem like the easiest of the list but sometimes there are things that happen or are said in a friendship that aren’t easy to be thankful for. How about the time your friend confronts you about a sin that you don’t want to admit? That time is harder to thank them, isn’t it? You may ask why you should thank your friend for speaking up and not just loving you through it. But is it really loving someone if you don’t care about their spiritual health? We wouldn’t let a dear friend sit in the cold when we have a warm and cozy home or stand by and watch someone abuse our friend, in the same way we shouldn’t sit by and watch our friends deal with, or even enjoy, unchecked sin. And if we could be such a friend to them how can we not be thankful if they are that kind of friend to us?
John 15:13 says there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. We know that Jesus did this with His physical life but we can do this without having to wait for a life threatening situation. Sometimes it means giving up our comfort zone to speak the truth in love to our friends. If we truly love them we need to speak and in turn listen. Not only will that help the friendship grow with your friend, but both of you will find your relationship with God growing. But remember growth will only come if the person that is confronted repents with a humble heart. And pure worship can’t coexist with non-repented sin.
Making It Personal
Have you ever had a friend speak truth about sin into your life as a way of trying to lift you up? Have you ever had to do it to someone you are friends with? Have you ever seen it fail because of an unrepentant heart?
Making It Personal Kids
Father, we confess the times we have been to prideful to admit our sin. Father, please give us good friendships that lead to our growing in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.