Our church is focusing on Biblical Friendship in 2016. Friendship is one of the great blessings of life. The Bible has much to say about friendship, and as a church we are committed to deepening our friendship with two groups of people…God’s Church and Our City.
Biblical Friendship can be described as mutual love that interweaves souls. If we are going to knit together our lives, then we must “love one another.” Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” My prayer for us this next year is that we would be marked by loving one another.
This passage speaks to the importance of being in each other’s lives, to living in community, to being better friends. There is no magic way to do this, but at our church we do this through Neighborhood Groups. I pray that you would consider being part of one of our Neighborhood Groups and begin that journey of loving one another.
Over the holidays I read a short booklet on Biblical Friendship which included a bunch of practical wisdom on how to love each other as friends. I thought it was so helpful that I purchased some copies and gave them out to our church. We are also starting a new men’s group using this booklet. You can purchase Beeke and Haykin’s book by clicking HERE.
One of the helpful tips the authors point out is that we are not going to be close to everyone. Some people are just going to be our acquaintances. We might not be as close to as many people as we want. We also might have people in our lives that we desire to be close with, but it simply isn’t going to happen.
Also, Biblical friendship requires time and intentionality. Life-giving friendships don’t just happen. We have to carve out time for each other. If we only see you once a month or once every other month, you won’t find great friendships here. This means you have to prioritize friendships with God’s People. We have to be intentional with each other.
Biblical Friendship means that we have to be together…talk together, listen together, serve together, enjoy life together, think together, pray together, repent together, and hope together. If we are going to be marked by friendship this year, then we need to spend time together. We can’t be close if we don’t talk to each other…are you hearing me men?! But, I am not saying you need to be the one who is always talking, because good friends are good listeners. Are we a people who serve each other when we are in need? Some of you are better at this than others, but do we have fun together. The older I get the more I value dudes to just hang with. Laughter is good for the soul. But, some of you are dudes that hang well, but you aren’t going to get close friends unless you think together. Specifically, we are to think about life and family and work and the gospel. You need to process the important things of life with other people. We need to understand that Biblical Friendship moves beyond superficiality. Are you praying with people in your life? Further, are we processing our struggles in a way that we repent, and turn from our sins with other people? Are we also processing our lives where we are hoping together? Over the past few years I have grown closer to some of you during job changes. We have hoped together. It was hard, but it was good.
Guys, let’s be real for a moment. If we can’t be good friends with each other, then any campaign or slogan or program or outreach effort is phony. The Bible, specifically in James, questions the genuineness of churches that have slick efforts, but are marked by shallow unloving relationships. I truly phony-friendships is why so many churches are so weak.
As I look to 2016, my prayer is that we would be marked by glorious loving friendships. We are called “friends of God” (James 2:23) in order that we might be friends with God’s Church.