July 8, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Our Hope, Joy and Crown of Exaltation Today
“For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?”
1 Thessalonians 2:19
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My friend came up to me recently and apologized for being mean to me. He has apologized every day for something he had done previously, for the last three days. He said his other friends had told him he had been too hard on me. I told him that I did not even notice that he was mean to me. Indeed, I assured him our friendship remained strong. You see, my friend has not yet found the forgiveness that only Christ provides. Therefore, I expect my friend to act like an unbeliever every time I see him. In contrast, I expect very different behavior from my believing friends.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Paul pays the Thessalonians another major compliment, straight from his heart. Paul was not flattering the Thessalonians, but rather truly expressing his hope, joy and exultation. Paul had formed bonds of friendship so strong that they had become his hope. Hope always looks to the future, and he had a particular future in mind. Paul expected that Jesus would come again to the clouds of earth in bodily form, and extract believers from the world. When Jesus appeared, Paul would see the crown of exultation glowing with glory.
How do you think about your friends in Christ? Do you have anyone that you could say to them: “You know, you are my hope, joy and crown of exaltation at the appearing of Christ”? If so, why not tell them how you feel about them. If not, why not start making such friends in Christ right now. How we think about our friends makes a big difference in how we treat our friends in Christ. You see, I expect things from my Christian friends that I never expect from unbelievers. Only my Christian friends will truly be my hope, joy and crown of exultation.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we view our Christian friends as people we will stand with when Christ comes again.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we see our Christian friends as our hope, joy and crown of exultation when Christ appears. They also grow when we tell our friends in Christ how we truly feel about them.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we never think positive thoughts about our friends in Christ, and never see them in relation to Christ appearing to take us all home to be with Him forever. Silence about our friends is not always golden.
Application for Today
Today, I will let my friends in Christ know that I see them as my joy, hope and crown of exultation at the appearing of Christ. What will you let your friends know today?