Friendship in the Kingdom of God
Friends are our social network ever since time began. There are business friends, school friends, “makan” friends, “drinking kaki” friends, true friends and kingdom friends. Year of God’s Possibilities have concerns for the friendship factor to enhance possibilities of life’s progress and results.
I want to introduce “kingdom friends”. Kingdom friendships show the kingdom while enjoying social relationships. Jesus called his disciples friends. In John 15, Jesus spoke of letting them know of his Father’s business. He did it with transparency. He also did the extreme, he laid down his life. That was beyond anybody’s idea of going the second mile. Yes, his death was not only for his friends but for all who will believe. That is true. His focus on the Father’s business and desire for friends that serve God are traits we can learn from Him. His transparency and impartation had an end – connecting his disciples to God’s purpose and people.
When I think of true friendship I think of comfort. This is what the Holy Spirit is as our true companion. He is the comforter. A sounding board and hearing friends out in their trouble or crisis are marks of true friendship. There is a risk however, that some may take what was shared with them in transparency to affirm your weakness and use that against you. That is how some friendships fall apart. Innocence, honesty and transparency in vulnerable sharing may face a day of shaking. That is perhaps why some people are very guarded in friendships. Some have chosen just to be superficial. Vulnerable as it is, faithful friendship is meant to be a source of comfort.
I have many friends in my life. The thing that makes me still think of them even though time and space have separated us is the quality of commitment. There is loyalty proven by their giving and pouring out one’s life to another. Commitment bears out the quality of generosity. True friends give of themselves in thoughtfulness. Giving in terms of time and substance is a reward of your own giving and thoughtfulness for others. True friendship is never a one-way street.
One Pastor who considers me his friend came and shared with me his inner struggles. I listened to him and prayed with him. Many years later he came and told me of his victory and release since then. When he told me that I could hardly remember what he was talking about until he was specific. In recent years I had written to him and spoke of my appreciation of his life and ministry in the Lord. All I could think of him is how great a man he has been and had totally forgotten his moments of weakness. It occurred to me that I had helped him confront an area of his struggle without judgment. I had prayed sincerely with him. Some people are “professional confronters”. They usually say that they do it in love. They want to see you change but may not pray through with you. Let us do better than that.
Friendships help our Future
Godly relationships and friendships that are true shape our future in the Lord. As we are God’s people, friendships are under-girded by our fellowship and service in the Lord. In Him we overcome shortcomings in any friendship. There are vertical and horizontal aspects to positive and ongoing friendship: God above and man on the side. When two agree and walk together, we are not alone; the possibilities in God increase.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
Group Senior Pastor, New Life Churches