July 6, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
More Eager To See Your Face Today
“But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while–in person, not in spirit–were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.”
1 Thessalonians 2:17
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Believers share a spiritual bond in Christ that miles cannot separate. Paul brings this bond of spirit before the Thessalonians and reminds them of how he has been separated from them physically, but not spiritually. Strong friendships endure distances, but they also promote a desire to see each other face to face.
I often meet people who have no interest in being friends with anyone. One my friends explained to me recently that he just holds everyone in contempt. He relayed to me that after just a few minutes, he understands a person, and invariably sees their problems and weaknesses, and then dismisses them. He has no interest in being friends with anyone, and barely tolerates people. You probably know someone too who, for whatever reason, would prefer not to have friends. So many times, having friends also means having heartache. For many reasons, people often decide that friends, especially Christian friends, just are not worth the effort. Of course, if you have been reading 1 Thessalonians, you know that the ministry team never felt that way. In fact, just the opposite was true.
For all my friends who tell me that friends are not worth having, I ask them if Jesus feels that way about them? Do you count Jesus your friend? Is Jesus your friend because you have no troubles or weaknesses? He sees you in perfect clarity, down to the thoughts in your mind. He still wants to be friends with you, and He loves you everyday. Recently, my wife told me that she heard me praying in the shower. I was stunned with surprise. She told me that she could usually hear me quite clearly as I prayed, even in her bedroom. She said maybe it was a resonance from the shower, but she could hear me even when I prayed in a normal voice. I thought my shower was a quiet place to pray out loud. Well, when she told me that news, I asked her for forgiveness if I had prayed things that may have upset her. She said no, she had heard nothing like that. When I found out she had heard many of my prayers, even my deepest thoughts expressed to God out loud, I was concerned when I knew she had heard them. I think we all pray at times frankly with God. When I pray in the shower, I am usually showering before going to work. I pray about my day, and all the things I think need doing. I always expect Jesus to guide me each day, but I express my cares and concerns from the solitude of my shower, or my supposed solitude.
When we start to make real friends in Christ, sometimes distance separates us. At the beach, I often meet people visiting from up north, or just in for a vacation at the beach. Other people I meet live in the area, and we form strong friendships. Even then, some of them move away. Many times, even spiritual friends lose contact, but when you really love people you have led to faith in Christ, you really want to know they are prospering in Christ. My wife and I never had children, but I really enjoy knowing the people Jesus has saved through my words speaking His message. I rejoice in that fact almost every day, and really miss some of my friends. Spiritually, we are united. With e-mail, video Skype, and many other electronic tools, we can all stay in touch. Paul made it a habit to stay in touch with the Thessalonians, and let them know just how much he cared for them, even when he could not be physically present. He loved them and missed them dearly. We should all have and be friends like that.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we realize God has united us spiritually with our friends in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we let our friends know how much we miss them and want to see them face to face.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we lose interest in friends, and no longer want to see our friends in Christ. Our love grows cold, but Christ can use our friends to kindle afresh His love in us.
Application for Today
Today, I will let my friends know that I miss them. For some of my friends, I need to see them again, face to face when possible. For others, I need to remind them that we are spiritually united, although physically separated. Who do you long to see and need to contact today?