Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Biblically-Defined Spiritual Friendships

PSALM 119:63 – I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.”

So, do we have spiritual friendships? I know that is vague and what it doesn’t mean is “We have Christian friends or acquaintances; those brothers and sisters we see on Sundays, maybe attend a Bible study together but never get into the “nuts and bolts” of Biblical fellowship.” Like what we see in the Apostle Paul with a dear brother named “Epaphroditus”. He wrote of him-I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need (Philippians 2:25).

The relationship between Paul and Epaphroditus is the model for spiritual friendships as defined by the Bible. There is no shallowness allowed. There is not guardedness in sharing. There is depth, sincerity, genuineness, and a joy known which cannot be experienced without these type of relationships with other believers. However, I warn us. They are costly. They are sacrificial and they are worth every ounce of effort on our part to cultivate. So, with that promotion, here are the four qualities to be sought and developed in Biblically-defined spiritual friendships.

First, they are based on family ties–Epaphroditus, my brother. Think about our physical families. What makes them healthy? Love. Transparency, Communication. Commitment. Sacrifice. Service. Shared interests. And many other things. In our relationships with other Christians and if they are going to be real and deep, it begins with family commitment to each other.

Next, spiritual friendships are tied to laboring together in the service for Christ–Epaphroditus, my fellow worker. Are you serving with other Christians in spiritual work? Are you teaming up with fellow Christians in the glorious work of the Gospel? Remember, we are called to serve and few things bring greater joy to our lives than serving in the Gospel with other believers. If you are not, try it, you will love it!

A third aspect of genuine Biblically-defined spiritual friendships is fighting spiritual warfare together–Epaphroditus, my fellow soldier. Do you have a dear brother or sister in the faith you may call right now, or at 2:00 a.m. to meet you, pray with you, cry with you, and give themselves to you in the spiritual war God calls us to? We need fellow warriors. A soldier going to battle alone will be a lone casualty quickly. Make this a priority. You need this relationship and other believers need you as well.

So, when it comes to developing these type of relationships, what is really being described is the working out of Jesus’ New Commandment-A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). And that, brothers and sisters, defines Biblical Christianity in action.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to cultivate genuine spiritual friendship with a love that endures and grows.”
QUOTE: “We need spiritual friends; those who love us, invest in us, forgive us, and are always there for us.”

Because of Him,
Pastor Jim