September 25, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”—1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
When I think about friendship, I think about my various phases of friendship throughout childhood. There was first a phase in which I considered my friends to be the girls I played with at recess or who shared their snacks with me. Then there was a phase in which my friends were the girls I got to make and sell bracelets with or do all kinds of flips on the swing set with. Another phase involved making music videos and group chats with silly names. The girls who stuck with me through these phases were the ones who I remember as my close childhood friends.
Going into high school; however, I changed schools and very few friends from my childhood came with me. I struggled because I really desired to have a community to be seen, loved, valued, and connected. I thought I had to change myself in order to do this, and I also realized that this desire had become an idolatrous one as I put it in front of my desire to grow closer to the Lord.
In realizing this, God helped me truly devote myself to Him and fight this lie with the truth. The lie was believing I needed to be known by other people to be happy. The truth is I’m already known by God and embracing that would help me find eternal joy that would then equip me to have real relationships with people on earth without making those relationships idolatrous.
It was after my first year of high school when the Lord began to grant me truly God-centered friendships. When I think about a solid God-centered friendship, I think about freestyle building with legos. As a kid, I would love to make things with legos, but the best way to ensure they were secure was by having a lego plate down to stick everything to. This would allow the legos to stay in place yet also connect with other legos to make something beautiful.
When you make Christ your foundation, you will not be shaken. This we know to be true because Jesus Himself said it (Matthew 7:24–27). When you can find friends to stand together with upon Christ’s firm foundation, then you can experience community in the way God intended us to! Just like legos can stand firmly on the lego plate and then connect firmly with each other as a result, we must first make Him our foundation and stand firm on it personally before finding others to stand on it with!
Pause: Have you ever experienced what it’s like to have a truly God-centered friendship? If so, what was it like? Are your close friendships now centered on Him?
Practice: Reach out to a friend who is growing spiritually alongside you and encourage them today. Ask them how you can be praying for them and build them up spiritually. You can also share more about your faith with an unbelieving friend and intentionally pray for their salvation!
Pray: Jesus, thank You for not just making us Your servants, but for calling us Your friends, too. We praise You today for how kind and faithful You are. May we root ourselves in You and, as a result, find a community to connect with where we all get to be rooted in You together. I ask for stronger friendships that are consistent, authentic, encouraging, and built on Your firm foundation. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.