Shortly before getting married, I moved an hour away from my hometown to be closer to work. Turns out, it was just far enough that I didn’t find many opportunities to meet up with my old friends. I have always been one that enjoys a small circle of close friends, but I’m terrible at meeting new people. As I came to love my new town, I struggled to meet new friends. Just as I began to accept that maybe this was just what it means to be an adult, my hometown church announced it was building a campus in my new city. Naturally, my husband and I were thrilled. After this announcement, we discovered there were quite a few people near us who had been making the hour-long trek to our church. We clung to these people, knowing they were not put in our lives by chance. Our church opened, and we began to grow in our Bible study groups. The women’s group I became a part of then is still kicking today, and I have some wonderful, Godly friends as a result. God answered my prayers for friends, and in typical God fashion, he gave me one better: friends, teachers, accountability partners, listeners, motivators. I am forever changed by the women I’ve met. They have pushed me to grow in my faith and encouraged me to live in the Word. We confess our struggles to each other, we offer Biblical advice to one another, and we pray for each other regularly.
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. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Lately I have been thinking a lot about the difference between friends who are fellow followers of Jesus and friends who don’t follow him. It changes things. In a group of believers, the faith doesn’t go out the window when you leave church or Bible study meetings. It enters into the friendship, and it sort of changes the rules. I recently found myself with a Jesus-following friend, in a situation that required us to provide some heavy-duty support to another believing friend. Our advice was much different than if it came from our own thoughts and judgment. Friends who are believers are not just valuable for studying the Bible with, they can help each other navigate the muddy waters of actual life. Frankly, in the moment that we were speaking into our friend’s life, it felt like uncharted territory for me. In the past, my advice would have been something to the effect of, “you tell ‘em,” “you do what’s best for you,” “forget everyone else,” “let me help you hold this grudge,” or “want me to tell them off for you?” But this time, the first step was to pray together. We listened, were present, and cried together. It took breaking down all of the old worldly knowledge I had amassed over the years and being open to where the Holy Spirit guided us. It was gut wrenching, but God made it beautiful.
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19-20
The Holy Spirit was moving as we gathered as friends. And I am certain God will be working through the situation. Though I value my friendships, I have a bad habit of isolating myself sometimes, and God has been reminding me lately that he gave me “my people” for a reason: their effect on me, my effect on them, and our collective effect in his Kingdom.
God wants us to be in fellowship with other Jesus-followers. He does not want us to be isolated. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Jesus-following friends can strengthen you as a believer. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17
Jesus-following friends pray for one another, which pulls everyone involved closer to God and his promptings and brings healing. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16
Jesus-following friends can be present in your life, helping you with the consequences of the world so you can better focus on your mission with God. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved Acts 2:44-47
While God was putting this on my heart, I heard the song, “No Man is an Island,” by Tenth Avenue North which really spoke to me.
🎵No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down!
You don't have to fight me, I am for you
We're not meant to live this life alone!
Oh, oh, oh, oh!
I see fear in your eyes, there's no safety here
Oh, my friend, let me in, I will share your tears
I wish you never thought you had to go,
Wish you never thought you had to leave!
Together we can lift each other up,
We can build a shelter for the weak!
Oh, come on!🎵
God created us for relationships. Don’t deny yourself the company of other believers. Together, you can do so much. One way to find this is to join a Bible study group (some call them Life Groups because you “do life” together) or even start your own. You don’t have to be alone!
A.j. is a wife and SAHM, an eager follower of Jesus, and a chronically loud-laugher. She loves finding new ways to look at the Bible, in hopes to grow closer to Jesus and to find fresh ways to learn and teach others.
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