Friends play a huge role in who we become and how we navigate life. They are a great treasure to have, and life is better when we are together with others. Friends give us strength, good laughs, support and companionship. From these relationships, we are made better, and we have memories that last a lifetime. Moments shared with friends go deep into our soul giving us joy and pictures of fun that don’t go away but get fonder over time. This is why we love getting together to talk about the old days and the funny times we shared together. With this in mind, can you remember your childhood best friend? I can!
Even as kids we leave a mark on each other and whether or not we stay close or drift apart, we remember them and the memories we shared.Then, we grow up, and friends can be a maze we tirelessly walk through.It seems like the older we get, the relationships get more complicated. There are disappointments, offenses, arguments, disagreements and more. These things leave us shielding our heart in protection from others. We talk but don’t talk, share but don’t share as everything becomes veiled with angst wondering if we will be hurt one more time. Maybe this is why it’s easy for churches to be exclusive only trusting those they know because under the surface fear is dictating decisions.
If we are honest, we all have been hurt deeply in life by others, and we have probably hurt others deeply too. It has left memories of pain, anger and distrust so that our daily interactions are guarded as we protect our heart. But this, at best, leaves us incomplete in our connection to God. He made us to be with others so that when we embrace others we are embracing Him.
It’s our relationships that mold our character and reflect our depth with God. It’s how we handle the ups and downs that reveal where we are in our faith. We practice the love of God with others, we practice our new attitude with others, and we practice our convictions with others. This is where we are put to the test the most in our lives regarding our willingness to forgive, release grudges and to be merciful.
Therefore, this is why Christ wants us to be converted like a child. He wants to restore our innocence toward Him and toward others so that we live with arms open in worship to Him and in friendship to others. This is massive for the development of our faith. What we decide to do will determine our growth or our ceiling; it’s our choice.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9,
“Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”Ecclesiastes 4:9
This is so simple and yet so hard at the same time since our hearts have been jaded many times. Nevertheless, this is the expectation of the Word. Our position can be one of a healed heart to love freely in the innocence of our faith bringing life change within us. The enemy uses the mistakes of others or of ourselves to shut us down and cut us off from solid relationships leaving us vulnerable to be defeated and deflated. But God wants to use these mistakes to bring healing and mercy to our lives. It’s not about who is right or wrong but rather will we get closer to God? It’s in these moments that we get to put our faith into practice with how we treat others. This is the barometer of our faith!
Our spiritual gifts are given by grace, but our character is developed through Him chiseling away at our hard heart, making us like a child again. Therefore, we are loving, giving, innocent and believing the best in others because we are being changed by His love. It’s vital that our gauge of spirituality is not in giftings or signs and wonders but in our character especially regarding others. These giftings and signs and wonders are to be an outflow of a life changed by love living in private what we say in public. In the end, it doesn’t matter how God uses us if we can’t love our brother with Christ’s love no matter the circumstance. This is where we show Jesus, this is where we reflect His truth, and this is where we are changed the most.
I believe it’s our integrity and character that determine our ability to receive His blessings and promotions in our lives, and this will always be connected to others. So what will you do today with your friends? This answer is different for all of us. Some need to forgive, some need to say sorry and others need to reach out. Our next step is the most important. I encourage you to embrace God by embracing others. Receive the pattern of God with having friends that will challenge you and love you!
It’s your time! Don’t turn back and don’t shut down. Open your heart, open your arms and be closer to God!
The best is yet to come!