Joy from Christian Friendships

Chic Broersma

READ : Philippians 2:19-30

I thank my God every time I think of you. (1:3 GNB)

Henri Nouwen wrote, “Beneath all the great accomplishments of our time there [remains] . . . a lack of friendship.”

In the Old Testament, only Abraham and Moses were called friends of God. Amazingly, Jesus says to us, “I no longer call you my servants. I call you my friends.” Jesus offers each of us an intimacy with God that was rare before his coming. If we treasure this friendship we’ll want to obey Jesus.

Jesus is the supreme gift of God. Friends are gifts of God too, but strong friendships don’t just happen. They require maintenance. Friendships involve a three-way relationship—with ourselves, others, and God. Neglect any one of the three and satisfying friendships are difficult.

Paul regarded the Philippians as his dear friends. See the apostle on his knees in a dark prison cell, damp, and smelling of mildew. He takes pen in hand and writes, “I thank my God every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you” (1:3). He promises to send Timothy to bring—and bring back—news. He returns Epaphroditus to them, his friend and theirs. Such is the cycle of friendship. Memory of friends leads to gratitude. Gratitude leads to prayer. Prayer leads to joy.

PRAYER

Lord, help me be your faithful friend and help me be loyal to the friends you give me.