Tag Archives: friendship

The Practical Ministry of Presence

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

This verse’s specific context speaks of believers helping one another with the oppressive weight of temptation and the effects of yielding to it. However, there is a broader principle that can be applied to all burdens.

FriendshipsSo why is this principle important?

Today, it seems as though everyone you meet is carrying a burden, and Christians are not exempt. Though we can and should have joy in the midst of our difficulty, this doesn’t mean that we are to be dishonest about our difficulties. If we act like we never have problems then what does our ability to have joy prove? However, if we are honest about our lives and still find Jesus sufficient in all things, even when we are clearly at the end of ourselves—that can be winsome. If we, by faith, find some hope even when things seem hopeless, that is a powerful apologetic! By the way, the hope that we find isn’t pie in the sky or foundation-less hope; we hope in the real person who has already rescued us! It is the height of arrogance to think that he can’t overcome some issue in our lives when he has already overcome our depravity. If we minimize our sinful condition or magnify our role in salvation, we are much less likely to hope in Jesus! We hope because of his record! A Christian who has gotten caught up in a sinful cycle must be honest with himself and with others to get out. In the same way, a Christian who is bearing a burden that isn’t tainted by sin must be honest with himself and others to find help and hope. Christian, stop acting, it’s ok to need help!

How can I help bear burdens?

There are many ways that Christians can and should bear each other’s burdens, but this is a blog post, so I would just like to focus on one of them. Be there! I know it’s simple, but your presence can make a difference. Often, in the difficult seasons of life, friends and family don’t know how to help or what to say. Sometimes the one who is hurting doesn’t know what they need and wouldn’t know what to ask for if they did ask. Often this hurting individual carries on an internal dialogue that goes something like this: “I don’t physically need anything.” “No one could possiblysay anything that could help me right now.” “If someone were here with me they may feel some of my pain.” “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” “If someone else hurts, that will not help me in any way.” This hurting person then decides to bottle it up and go through their pain alone. Isolation is not the answer.

You are created in the image of God, and part of that imago dei illustrates that you are a relational being made to live within community. Your emotions are as real as you are.  People don’t have to say anything. Those that love you most are already feeling your pain. There are some weights too great for anyone to go through alone. Whether you are the one carrying a burden or the friend of someone carrying a burden, your presence can make a difference!

Article by Brian Norris

@BrianNorris

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Who Would Carry You?

It is a sad commentary on Christianity that so many Christians stand opposed to their brothers and sisters in the faith. We have lost sight of the power God has given over our friends. We have allowed the world, flesh, and devil to keep our eyes focused on ourselves and we miss an opportunity to be a blessing.

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke we find a retelling of mighty faith that impressed Jesus. We find a man who was afflicted with palsy. We are not told the severity of his case, but in many cases a person has no ability to move. They are, in effect, paralyzed.

Jesus had come to Capernaum, and there was a great crowd of people who came to hear him. There were so many people there that the doors and windows were packed with people. The crowd pressed to hear Jesus. Into this crowd we see four men carrying a paralyzed man on a cot. We do not know the distance they had traveled, but they were there on a mission: to get the paralyzed man to Jesus.

We know that they tried to get into the house every possible way. They could not get through the door or windows. In desperation, they went to the roof and cut away a hole and lowered this man down.

Can you imagine the dust and debris that rained upon those in the house? This paralyzed man had just made a dramatic entrance. He now laid at the foot of Jesus. In the retelling of the event in four Gospels, we find the same response from Jesus: “When He saw their faith…” Not the faith of the crowd. Not the faith of the religious leaders present. Not the faith of the paralyzed man. When He saw ‘their faith’ He said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

Let me stop and say that nowhere in the Bible do I see that my faith in Christ is enough to get someone else to Heaven; however, we cannot overlook the power of the faith in Christ that these four men exercised. The Bible speaks as to the rarity of these men.

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?  Proverbs 20:6

I think that many times we think that our Christian life is one we must walk alone. We do our best to be a man of faith. We are able to accomplish some things for God, but for some reason we just cannot seem to get where God wants us to be. I believe the key is having friends of faith. A paralyzed man was healed because he had friends of faith. He could not go to Christ. Upon meeting Christ he could probably not speak. The one thing that he had in his favor was four friends of faith. Four friends who did not give up when the task seemed impossible. Four friends who did not quit, in spite of the stare of their peers. For friends who made quite a racket getting their friend to Jesus.

I believe to have friends of faith that we must be a friend of faith.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

We have many brothers in Christ, but how few friends of faith. I think that this verse may be applying to those friends.

As Christians I think you would agree that we have an obligation to be a man of faith. I think that, that goes further. I believe God would have us be a friend of faith. We should be someone who takes their faith in God and uses it to help others. Do you have a friend that you are there for? Are you willing to take up their cot, and help them in their faith? We all struggle at times in our life, but what would God allow with four friends of faith working with you? How much stronger would our marriages, homes, and churches be if they were filled with men who had four friends of faith? I fear we are in a place where we do not know.

We have not, because we have asked not. 

The power of four friend’s faith was enough for Christ to heal him enough so that withered limbs received strength and he walked. What is God waiting to do for us, but for the lack of friends of faith? Who will carry you?

Article by David Wagner

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