July 17, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Really Living Today
“For now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 3:8
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Living. In some ways, a fairly simple idea. I saw a physician this week. He did not look especially good, and mentioned he had his own health problems. His job helps people live longer and better by treating their physical bodies. As far as real living goes, that depends upon your spiritual life, not your physical life. Paul linked the life of the ministry team to the Thessalonians’ standing firm in the Lord.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:8, Paul talked about the idea of “standing firm” in the Lord. I noticed the term “Lord” too implies that we are obedient to Jesus as Lord. Paul tells the Thessalonians here that he knows from Timothy that they are right now “standing firm” in Jesus. He was concerned that the tempter may have shaken their faith, but he heard they were standing firm in Christ. The emphasis in the text lies between the present, active standing and the living. Let me put it this way. The ministry team is having a great life when they know the churches are presently, actively, and continuously standing in their faith in Jesus.
Let me plumb some of the implications of that thought. Some parents only hear from their older children when the children need money, a place to live, or some other benefit from their parents. Some children even steal from their parents around the house, and you have to hide the valuables, or your medication, or your cash. When your children have problems, they often bring those problems home. The point is that your life will depend in some measure upon the problems your children are currently facing. Paul took the idea and said the ministry team had formed such a strong bond with the Thessalonians, that he wanted them to know that his life depended upon their life. They had become intertwined spiritually.
For each of us, we must have an interest in our friends in Christ standing firm. You must take active steps to be sure that your friends are right now standing firm in Christ. If they are not, they must become your intense concern. I have watched waves at the beach pull the legs out from under adults and children. By God’s grace, someone often catches the child, and in some cases the adult, from being swept out with the wave into deeper water. Usually, someone grabs the hand and holds on tightly while the wave sucks at the legs of the person. Each of us needs to be keenly aware of how are friends are standing in Christ, and be ready to help. Furthermore, we need to stay linked up to our friends to help each other stand firmly in Christ.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we link our lives spiritually together in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we take steps to encourage and sustain our friends in Christ, so that they stand firm in Jesus.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we no longer care if our friends stand firm in Christ, or do nothing to help them stand in Christ. Sometimes, we must grab their hands and lift them up, so that they again stand firm in Christ.
Application for Today
Today, I hope to hear that all my friends are standing firm in the Lord. If I hear otherwise, I want to reach out to them in love and help them stand firm today. Are you standing firm in the Lord today? Need help? Giving help?