Better Together.

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This morning King Solomon’s very wise words appeared on my daily devotional;

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT).

This verse not only challenged me, but excited me and made me think on a whole new level about the friendships I have in my life.

We tend to use the word “friend” quite carelessly. Any person we have a few conversations with, work with, or “like” on Facebook we call “friend.” This is not necessarily bad, but through it, are we losing the real meaning of biblical friendship?

Could this be because real, deep, relational friendships come at a cost? Let’s take a moment to count the cost of friendship.

1. It costs personal convenience. We often think of friendship as hanging out and having fun. And that’s a part of it. However, the test of our love comes when our friend needs something from us; that is not so fun. This is when we must be willing to put our “stuff” aside and value others as more important than ourselves. Maybe they are going through a hard season and they need us to listen.

2. It costs time. We are made for community. God clearly stated that it is not good for man to be alone. However, companionship takes time. You cannot expect a truly meaningful friendship without putting in the time. Even when friends maintain a long-distance friendship, it has typically been built on a lengthy period of investment in one another’s lives.

3. It costs intimacy. What drew you to your friend? Was it their humour or cleverness? Did you admire their creativity and love for family? Maybe you were attracted to their kindness and service, or some other common interest. At first we only see the good sides of our friends. But if this is all we see then we will have a very shallow friendship. Friendship is designed for growth and this means helping each other identify and fight sin together. But to do this you need to know their heart and they need to know yours. There needs to be a willingness to open up our lives and hearts and let others see in. We need to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Intimacy must be a part of friendships, and it has to go both ways.

4. It costs comfort. Friendship is easy and fun when it is filled with laughter and everyone is sipping lattes and getting along, but what happens when storms roll into this friendship? What are we to do when we disagree? How should we handle harsh words that were thoughtlessly spoken? Feeling hurt is a natural response and so is the temptation to turn bitter and walk way. This is the easy and selfish response. True friendship on the other hand forgives and moves forward together. This is probably one the most difficult part of being a true friend.

5. It costs prayer. Friends pray for each other. Prayer is one of the means by which God acts. How can we not lift the people we say we love up in prayer? Understand each other’s needs and pray boldly for each other.

6. It costs love. When God calls us to befriend one another he calls us to love and forgive each other in the midst of hurt. And where there are humans, there will be hurt.

Yes, friendship is costly, but gee whiz, it’s worth it. God made us different on purpose, and He wired us to need each other to be effective.

We really are better together.

Written by Tash Ellis

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