A Few Words to the Philippians and…to Us!
Friendship – Part 1
FRIENDSHIP- What a Gift!
Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV) 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I am actually blessed to have several friends He has brought into my life who make this verse personal and close to my heart. I “feel” this verse when I read it.
When I first met one of these friends, she was stepping away from a life that didn’t fit her walk with God. She was struggling with the transition. Her old friends had a place in her heart but some of them could no longer take such a big place in her life. She had decisions to make…changes that were hard. What was her level of friendship going to be with these friends? What would her level of friendship be with her newer Christian friends? Were there some friendships she would have to give up?
There were things I said to her that I could see didn’t set well. Some of them were things I know God meant me to say but I probably didn’t say them as well as I should have. I know she wanted to run at times. There were times I felt unequipped. Without God’s blessing and favor, it could have been a disaster.
Today we are good friends, this unlikely pair. I truly do thank my God in all remembrance of this friend and the other friends God has brought into my life. These friends I would not have known to choose on my own. Each of them has increased my understanding of how God works in the lives of those around me. Each has given me insight into my purpose and place in my sphere of influence…my place in space. Each has caused me to relax more as I walk in faith.
God continues to teach me through these friendships that I don’t have to say every single thing exactly right or sometimes even say anything at all! My place in each friendship is to be prayerful, available and willing and to actively encourage those around me as God gives me the opportunity. I can truly ask for wisdom in every relationship and leave the results to Him.
Each friend is different. The variety is sometimes hilarious. One friend might be AWOL for a while and suddenly crack me up in early morning texts. One is great at listening, truly understands my heart and is willing to openly share hers. One might not be as willing to speak openly yet. One might throw out an occasional word that stings and yet at the same time, she is driven by a thirst for the sanity, calm and order that she knows will come from a deeper relationship with Jesus. Most of us have laughed and cried together. If we haven’t, it is only because our friendship is so new.
These are friends who increase my faith as I watch them wrestle with and gradually move forward in their relationship with Christ…friends who challenge me to move forward in mine.
These are friendships that, tense moments and all, I can say, “I thank God in every remembrance of you!” No memory has to be avoided or thrown out during this prayer. There’s not an awkward or a tense memory that has to be set aside to pray this honestly. Because of our God, every memory is part of the beautiful tapestry that is being woven together to strengthen our bond of friendship. Each is a friendship which is miraculously intertwined with our oneness in Christ. Every memory makes me smile because each one reflects the heart and miraculous work of God!
Who could ask for anything more?