“Let those be thy choicest companions who have made Christ their chief companion.” ~ Thomas Brooks
I’m folding towels and thinking about friendship.
I’ve found that intimate friendship has less to do with physical proximity and more to do with spiritual proximity or the degree to which someone draws near to Christ. Time spent together is wonderful, but time alone cannot teach us to love. Common activities don’t conquer our pride and enable us to listen with compassion. Similar backgrounds provide a basic understanding of culture but they tell us little of what the other person is thinking or feeling. It’s only by the Holy Spirit that we can give love freely. It’s the Spirit that teaches us to guard our tongue and trust that the Cross is great enough for someone else’s sin. It’s the Spirit that shows us how to apply scripture and speak meaningfully into the lives of others. I believe that just as Christian relationships should be marked leading one another to Jesus, so should they be marked by the timely encouragement, loving rebuke and expressions of affection which are prompted by the Holy Spirit.
My darling friend Jaree’ arrives this evening for a week long visit. Our friendship does have a rich history of life shared in close proximity. From Minnesota to Indonesia and back again, she’s been a part of my journey but that’s not why we’re great friends. I knew, the first time I sat down next to Jaree’ in the parking lot of BCOM that we’d be friends for life. I think it comes from the understanding that we both long to worship Jesus, submit to His word and live by the Spirit. We’re not perfect (far from it) and our friendship is not perfect. But it’s good. And it’s getting better all the time. It’s the natural outflow of my ever maturing relationship with the Lord.
As I’m putting towels in the closet and preparing for Jaree’s arrival, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the solace of friendship. I’m thankful for a friend who helps me love Jesus more. I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend time together. Mostly, I’m thankful for the way He makes everything better.