“There is nothing in this world so precious as a faithful friend and no scales can measure his [or her] excellence. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter, a fortified palace. . . . This is truly a gift from God and clearly more than we deserve.”- Gregory of Nazianzus
“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”- John 15:16 (NLT)
In Chapter 9 (“Friendship: The Art of Mutual Encouragement”) of Survival Guide for the Soul, Ken Shigematsu notes that it’s possible for individual or groups of people we chose to expose ourselves to shape us in significant, often unanticipated ways. Hence, our associates can profoundly influence our vision. And God can use our friends to transform our ambitions to serve a higher calling.
Therefore, it’s not the quantity, but the quality, of our friendships that matters. However, Ken wonders, how many of us think about asking God to lead us to spiritual friendships? Most significantly, Jesus set the example. In Luke 6:12-16 we read that Jesus prayed until dawn prior to calling His disciples.
Furthermore, in his spiritual classic The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis expounds on Jesus’ words in John 15:16. The words of Jesus describe the disciples’ relationship with one another:
“In friendship . . . we think we have chosen our peers. . . . But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ‘Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.’ ”
Finally, Ken advises, if you need a spiritual friendship that inspires you toward Christ, pray about initiating a connection with someone to befriend you on the journey.
Today’s question: What faithful friend most serves as your sturdy shelter? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Back burner relationships – neglect”