We All Need Friends

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” —Philippians 1:2-3

There is something terribly wrong in the church today. People are devoted to God, committed to His work, willing to burn themselves out in service of the Kingdom. But we are somehow unconnected to the emotions and heart needs of our own lives, and of those around us.

Paul was in prison when he wrote the passage above. He knew how his imprisonment would affect his flock. He wrestled with the impact it was having on him. We’ve all heard expressions like “Grace to you and peace from God” in some form, to the point where they become meaningless, like saying hello.

But to Paul these words weren’t casual clichéd greetings. He knew how important it was for his readers to trust in God’s grace, to experience His peace. He wasn’t writing just as an apostle to the church; he was writing friend to friend; very warm, very personal. He wanted to encourage his readers. Yes, he was imprisoned, yes, his life was threatened, but we can count on God’s grace and peace. And he wasn’t afraid to admit that he needed to count on them, because his life was hard and scary.

He was thankful for his friends. Every time he thought of them, every moment he sat there in prison, alone, he knew someone cared, someone was praying. He stopped to thank God every time he remembered them. Paul was connected to his brothers and sisters in Christ, emotionally and spiritually, even if he was separated physically.

We need to be there for each other. We are a body, and we can bless each other...or we can ignore each other. Part of the secret of Paul’s strength and joy was the intimate, close fellowship he had with other believers.

Intimate fellowship is what God desires for us and is one of the most powerful ways He demonstrates His love toward us. Stop to thank God for your friends and reach out to someone who needs a friend!

“To live in prayer together is to walk in love together.” Margaret Moore Jacobs

 

DEVOTIONALSRay Bentley