The Christian way of doing things is the opposite of what the world things is successful. We don’t use our elbows to get ahead. And we don’t sweet talk our way to the top. Instead, we are called to love others as we love ourselves. And love does not give us permission to selfishness. Instead, it urges us to become deep-spirited friends.
Wesley Hill writes “God never meant us to be purely spiritual creatures. That is why He uses material things like conversations, shared meals and trips, hugs, small kindnesses, and gifts between friends to enrich the new life He’s given us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented human relationships. He likes friendship. He invented it.”
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Phil. 2:1-4, MSG, emphasis added,*)
We can leave coldness, selfishness, and hate at the foot of the cross. When we do this, God’s grace empowers us to live a life of love instead. We are called to love our brothers and sisters, neighbours, even our enemies. God wants the best for us and being friends, especially deep-spirited friends, is the best life can offer.
With the words of St. Aelred: “But how happy, how carefree, how joyful you are if you have a friend with whom you may talk as freely as with yourself, to whom you neither fear to confess any fault nor blush at revealing any spiritual progress, to whom you may entrust all the secrets of your heart and confide all your plans. And what is more delightful than so to unite spirit to spirit and so to make one out of two?”
Friends are gifts from God. So, if you do not have any deep-spirited friends, ask God to send you a new friend. Meanwhile, spend lots of time with the ultimate friend, Jesus. He will make you more loving, grace-filled, and ready for becoming deep-spirited friends when the time is right. Then you can keep on pushing each other to grow closer to God. And have the time of your life while doing it.
Thank you for the gift of friendships.
Fill us with your love and grace,
make us ready for being deep-spirited friends.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you have deep-spirited friends? Do they help you to grow in grace?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you grace empowers you to live a life of love!
* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses toBiblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].