Within all communities friendships that are developed become the center of our lives. Friends “hang out” together and during life encounters learn how each other thinks, acts, feels, reacts, and on and on we could go.
In the first Christian church, spiritual friendships were a must. They met together daily for encouragement, teaching, worship, and friendships. Later as the persecution got tougher, there’s no doubt that those relationships grew to be even more meaningful and deeper as the Christians banded to do more than fellowship. Their very lives depended on one another. They had a common goal, a common message, and most of all, a common Savior.
What about our relationships today? Being a minster in a church I am surrounded by Christian friendships. My family are all Christians. I am sheltered to the “real world” in some ways.
Before working with churches, I worked in a factory and remember well the atmosphere of bad language, bad influence, and just in general, being surrounded by bad behavior. Not all places are that bad, and I’m certainly not making a blanket statement, it’s just that this place was pretty bad.
Nevertheless, many who are in the work force of our society struggle each day with fellowship issues. There is a need for more relationships that are spiritual in nature. Many never receive the encouragement to hang in there for God. They are condemned for their beliefs on a daily basis. They are made fun of for believing in spiritual things.
On top of the daily trials, church has, for some, become a place of socializing and not much depth spiritually speaking. The “Hi, how are you, fine” conversations are often shallow and nonspiritual. We talk more about things that are really spiritually insignificant to the detriment of our spiritual relationships.
What about you? Count the number of “real” friendships you have and ask yourself how you are doing at building the spiritual friendships as opposed to shallow or worldly influences. This is not a test to guilt ourselves or make us feel badly. It is a test that could help us develop more and more a deeper relationship here or there that has its foundation significance based in spiritual matters.