An anonymous writer wrote: Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them: work, family, health, friends, and faith, and you’re keeping them all in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and faith – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.
It’s becoming very clear that all the balls are important, yet faith drives them all. You take out faith, you become spiritually destitute and find that no other ball can satisfy the void you have in your soul for God – a void that has been felt for countless generations due to man’s rebellion against God as described in the book of Genesis.
Yet in the beginning, God created humankind for faith (the ability to choose what God wants = obedience) and relationship; and He also created male and female to create family – to unite as one flesh. And we learned how our disobedience, our sin, brought on us a curse that still has our faith taking a back seat to other things and our families falling apart.
So in the midst of this curse we are looking at how we can fulfill what God destined for humankind from the beginning. We are looking at how to live sacrificially for God and for others, especially those in our families. We are looking at how we can keep the balls of life in the air so that we get the most out of all of them.
Well, today’ scripture will help us to see the third ball, the Friend ball, and its importance to our faith.
1 Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:13 states that Godly friendships strengthen and encourage our faith. Godly friendships, friendships grounded in relationship to Christ, are friendships that should strengthen and encourage you and me to stay the course in our faith. They are friendships that inspire us to live more fully for God and less for ourselves. They are friendships that challenge us to do right when choices are to be made, and to correct us when we do make the wrong choice. They are friendships that we long to be part of – that feel like family – that bring us joy and hope even with just the thought about meeting together.
But Godly Friendships can be stopped from time to time.
So what can get in the way of Godly Friendships? Satan can – “For we wanted to come to you – certainly I, Paul did, again and again – but Satan stopped us.”
Why would Satan stop Godly Friendships from coming together? He relies on weakness to devour his prey. So if he can keep Godly friends from coming together, he can keep them weak and vulnerable making them more susceptible to his attacks. If he can stop Godly Friendships from coming together, he knows he can discourage the lone believer, especially in light of the pain, struggle, trial, and persecution he will be bringing into his/her life.
But even when Satan can stop the physical connection between Godly Friends, he cannot stop the spiritual connection that exists between them.
So why can’t he stop spiritual connections? He can’t stop spiritual connections because Godly Friends pray for one another, they remember how much they enjoy being together, especially when they are apart, and they have the same spirit, the Holy Spirit, living inside them that reminds them that they are in this cause for Christ together.
Satan may physically keep you from connecting with those Godly friends of yours, but He cannot stop you from spiritually connecting with them. He cannot keep you from praying for them. He cannot keep you from longing to be with them. He cannot rob you of your joy. But he can, if you let him:(((
The ball of friendship is critical to our faith. It is critical in that if you only have worldly friends, these friends will not have the desires of the Holy Spirit in mind, and will most likely lead you into temptation. It is also critical in that if you have Godly friends, these friends will stand by your side encouraging you to stay strong in the Lord.
Godly friends help us to grow into spiritual maturity. Godly friends help us to face all trials and tribulations. Godly friends help us to stay on the straight and narrow road that leads to life. And Godly friends must become an important part – a priority – in our faith journey.
You see, it’s a choice – a choice between worldly friends, godly friends, or no friends at all. Which one do you think God desires for the believer, the Follower of Christ? You are right. He wants His Children to have Godly friends who can be there for one another to provide encouragement, hope, and accountability. This in turn will give His Children the courage to befriend those who are not God’s Children and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
Faith, Family, and Friends – all critical in our walk with Christ. Are you getting your priorities straight?