Reading: Romans 8:14-17
When we don’t socialize with certain people daily, it’s easy to assume the reason is we have nothing in common with one another. That may not always be the case, especially for those who may be members of our church’s congregation. Sharing our testimonies, doubts, answered prayers, and faith should reveal our commonality in Jesus Christ, regardless of how different we may seem from other Christians. Our Lord and Savior is enough to bring two strangers together with the bonds of friendship, and even closer as Jesus Himself said that whoever does God’s will is His family (Mark 3:35).
Once we’re children of God, we have a connection to all His other children – eternity in Heaven. They become our brothers and sisters in Christ. We now have an extended family that reaches around the world and into the past, the present, and the future. Speaking the name of Jesus as we go about our lives, it’s possible we may find some of those siblings and feel that fellowship in our hearts, even with a complete stranger.
Walking alone in the world with its busyness and sinfulness makes it incredibly easy to push God aside. If we want continuous growth in Christ, having the opportunity to talk with another Christian is essential. Friends are wonderful tools for holding us accountable. If we look at Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, we could interpret this scripture literally and symbolically.
If we physically fall and need help, our friends are there beside us to offer a hand of assistance. That may be expected of any friend, but if we fall spiritually, our Christian friends should be there in the same situation. Unfortunately, we don’t tend to welcome that type of aid as much as a helpful hand. We become defensive – most likely because we’re already feeling guilty about whatever it is with which we’re struggling. We need to remember that it’s better for us spiritually to receive constructive feedback from our Christian friends, who are lovingly trying to hold us accountable, rather than to seek support for our human nature’s instincts from the ungodly. The friends who truly love us will not sit quiet while we’re led astray from the Lord (Proverbs 27:5-6).
Good friends will hold us accountable where we’ve failed. Smart friends will know how best to deliver the message to us as individuals. We may be the type of people who can take the news frankly, or we may need to be approached with care. When we’re the deliverer, we should keep in mind how we would want our friends to share their concerns with us (Matthew 7:12). Regardless of who is holding whom accountable, we should speak to each other with love.
Not only should our friends know how to confront us, but we should also be familiar with them enough to know their personality and their intentions as they do. When we’re already aware of our internal battles, it’s easy to show bitterness to those who reveal it, but we must be humble and try to believe our friends approach us because they care, not because they want to pull us down.
Even with having these thoughts in the forefront of our minds, there could still be resentment built between friends. Whether it be a situation as mentioned above or something else, if there is animosity, we should try to make peace with one another to make sure our hearts remain in the right place when going to worship God (Matthew 5:21-24).
Even Christian friends can let us down at times because we are, after all, human beings with a human nature. When we feel that disappointment, we may begin to feel alone in the world. That feeling of isolation can remind us that we have a Friend with whom we have a bond closer than any family (Proverbs 18:24).
Jesus is always there for us, whether our friends are around or not. He has already shown in an ultimate way He loves us and how we should love others (John 15:12-15).
Have you ever met someone and was first skeptical, just to find that they were exactly who you needed at that point in your life?
Read James 4:10. How can humbling ourselves be beneficial in friendship accountability as the recipient of constructive feedback? As the deliverer?