C.S. Lewis said, “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” I think not. Just recently, my husband and I hosted our Bible study group for an afternoon of desserts and beverages. In the south where we live, good food is a priority for a successful party. But when the party is over, it is the fellowship that will be remembered, long after the red velvet cake and apple pie are gone.
There is great joy in transparency that brings laughter, tears, and genuine hugs from hearts filled with love for one another. There is something about a safe haven where you can be yourself, without fear of judgment or comparisons, which brings warmth and satisfaction to your soul.
Among Christ followers, there is a kindred Spirit assuring you that you are part of a larger family, a family that will spend eternity together, joyfully serving our Redeemer and King. No matter how dysfunctional your biological family, or how alone you may feel in a sea of co-workers and classmates who don’t understand your passion for Christ, there is supernatural bonding in relationships where Jesus is in the center. You may even discover that these friendships are closer than a brother or sister.
In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 3, Jesus was speaking to a crowd and someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for you.” But Jesus said, “Who is My mother, or My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister, and My mother.” Jesus was announcing that He was on mission to do the will of His Father, and anyone who joined Him on that mission, serving the Father, were His real family.
As pointed out in the 210 Project, friendships on a mission together are highly strategic. Each individual has a role to play, but it is together that a mission is accomplished. The process of deepening our Kingdom friendships helps us to move together down the same road, even if we are in different places individually, or assigned to different areas of the mission. We learn to discern God’s voice, apply His Word to our lives, and live each day with significance and meaning. The mission is to live out God’s transcendent story of love and redemption through the daily events of our lives at home, work, and in our communities.
God intended that we be in relationships with others. He designed us with differences so we might help a weaker brother with our strengths, and receive help from others in our weakness. Rodney Cox, a principal at Alliance Ministries, provides insight regarding what he describes as the Law of Differences. Rodney says, “It is only when we learn to value and appreciate differences as God’s design that we will experience the fullness of what He has intended for us.” This idea is undergirded by four principles:
- God’s design is intended for different parts to be arranged to produce a whole.
- We don’t need to strive to become something other than what we are in order to belong.
- We don’t need people around us who act and think like we do.
- God “sets” or “arranges” the members of His body as He wants them to be.
Take time to thank God for the Kingdom friendships He has given you. Prayerfully consider the mission you are on together, and determine how you might better appreciate your differences, and serve one another.
As Clarence, the angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life” rightly stated, “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”