Friends and spiritual rhythms
Santa Barbara, California
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25
Jerry's comment has stayed with me for years. I don't remember the content of our conversation, but I do remember his poignant one-line response: "Scripture is meant to be shared." Boom.
Thus, when my friend John invited me to read through the Bible at the start of 2021, I was primed to respond positively. More recently, two new friends and I began sharing morning devotions using YouVersion reading plans.
It is common to develop partnerships when seeking to achieve certain goals. For example, when I decided to run my first (only) marathon, I joined a training group. I benefited from the camaraderie and shared knowledge of others on how to train and avoid injury. I was happy when I crossed the finish line in Honolulu after (slowly) running 26.2 miles. Moreover, I shared my happiness with the group of friends who had trained with me for the months leading up to the marathon.
Recent thoughts have led me to think about how a friend is different from a mentor. A mentor directs one along a path. In contrast, friends walk alongside each other, and build a meaningful relationship through sharing current common experiences. Friends are in a unique position to be vulnerable because of trust that is developed over time.
Some people develop spiritual friendships through church or small groups. Others have one-to-one relationships for a season. Consistency, transparency and commitment to resolve conflicts are key components to any relationship. These factors also apply to spiritual friendships.
King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27:6, "Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy."
Not only will a true spiritual friend seek to keep us on the path to God, which may involve correction, they will walk with us along that path, so that we can support their walk as well.
Resources for this post: