Authentic Friendships

Dear Friends,
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


When my son reached a certain age we allowed him to have a Facebook account. Once he'd set it up, he excitedly told us how many 'friends' he had. 

But we know that there is a world of difference between our social media 'friends' and the face-to-face friendships we have with others.

Social media has highlighted the need that we all have for connection. God has made us for connection, first and foremost with himself, and secondly with others. Facebook has provided me with the opportunity to develop friendships with others who I would have never otherwise known and it's great to connect with like-minded people. Whilst such a friendship can develop over time to a certain level, I don't believe it can ever replace the depth and closeness that is gained through face-to-face friendships.

I belong to a friendship triplet and I am blessed in so many ways by this group. We try to meet as regularly as we can. We gather over cups of tea and discuss the latest devotional or  other Christian book we are reading. This group is so important to me for a number of reasons and I know my friends feel the same. 

When I've been with them I feel strengthened in my faith. I am encouraged and re-energised. When I don't meet with these friends it's easy to feel discouraged in my Christian journey and feel isolated. Being with them spurs me on in my faith. We share the things that God has been saying to us individually during the week and as we do, we learn and grow together. We pray for one another during the week and then look forward to meeting up again the following week.


And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

We are bonded together as sisters in Christ. When we are together we are aware that Jesus is right there with us, listening in on our conversations, guiding our speech and giving us wisdom as we discuss. His presence is such an important factor in our gatherings.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. (NLT)

It's so good to have a place where we can share our joys and achievements. We celebrate with each other, genuinely rejoicing in the good. There's no feeling of envy or jealousy that one of us has something that the others do not. 


Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Romans 12:15 (AMP)

We also open up about the difficulties we may be going through, the struggles that we are facing, such as health issues, worries or concerns about our families. We know that we have a safe place to share, where what we say will not be talked about outside of the group, except in our prayers for one another. We can share openly and honestly knowing that we are not going to be judged or criticised for what we say.

We take time to listen to what each other are actually saying and offer counsel when it is helpful to do so. We've agreed that it is far more beneficial to hear advice from one who has a relationship with God and so shares the same set of values and beliefs, than listen to someone who has no place for God in their lives and can therefore only offer worldly wisdom which is contrary to God's spiritual wisdom.


The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. Psalm 37:30 (NLT)

...the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere. James 3:17 (VOICE)

We all need authentic friendships. I'd rather have a handful of friends who I can be myself with and who share my love for Christ, who genuinely love me and care about me and my walk with God, than a large number of acquaintances who don't really know me. For me quality beats quantity every time.

To Think About:
What for you is the difference between a close, intimate friend and an acquaintance or 'friend' on social media?

What does having authentic friends and being an authentic friend mean to you? With whom do you have this kind of relationship?

How have you been blessed by authentic friendships?

Vicki

If  what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon, now on kindle as well as in paperback. (Its content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:

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