This is part of an ongoing series during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. To engage further in the #QuarantineSoulCare series, click here.
Relationship in the body of Christ is where we grow best. Of course, we must pursue our relationship with God day in and day out as well: having a quiet time in the morning, an intentional time with God, and participating in regular worship. But community is vital for spiritual growth; our friends can challenge us, sharpen us, and restore us in unique and powerful ways. We experience his presence with other just as much as when we’re alone in prayer with him. In our friendships, we are pointed to him again and again, we are refined, and we are encouraged, even when we feel like we are failing.
But when we feel isolated, we feel stuck. And I don’t want to downplay the struggles of being in that place. I don’t want to make it sound like there’s some magical, simple solution to your isolation. It’s not easy to build spiritual friendships. It’s not easy to invest in the lives of those around you in a way that grows both of you more in Christ.
But I can promise you this: It is absolutely worth it. The hard work you do now to carve out time, to push through weariness and discouragement, will enrich your life and your faith in ways you can’t imagine. We need each other. It’s just part of how we were meant to be. …
If we are intentional in our friendships, those people can help us see how God is working in our lives. Good friends challenge us in the areas where we are weak and encourage us forward. Spiritual friendship takes us to a depth of relationship that enriches us both—it’s hard to stay shallow when we decide to be honest about our relationship with God and what he is teaching us. When we invest in those sorts of friendships, every part of our lives becomes richer, because we are allowing God to speak into all of our experiences. …
In healthy friendships, we care deeply for our friends, seeking to hold them up in their weak places. We learn to lovingly accept each person’s heart and gifts. We develop the desire to serve those around us. We reach out in hospitality, providing a safe and warm space for our friends to be with us. And above all, we learn to live in the rhythm of encouragement, speaking life and hope often.
May you experience today the beauty of giving and receiving in true, spiritual friendship. #quarantinesoulcare Click To Tweet
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.
–Colossians 3:15-17, The Message