>More than Friends, Koinonia.

>Question: Who would miss you if you died today?
Once you stop and actually think through that question, I am surprised to think of people in a certain order. I think of my family, of course, but then I begin to think about those people who I consider to be my friends. I know of several who would greatly miss me, but then there are others that I honestly do not know if they would notice. The reality is that friendship matters to God. Even in Ecclesiastes, Solomon, who is considered the wisest man in history, said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (4: 9-10, emphasis added).
But that seems like an elementary answer. Of course friendship matters to God…So what? ‘So what’ is most people have ignored what a Godly friendship entails. It is more than simply being there to answer the phone in the middle of the night. It is more than being an ear for them to vent to or a shoulder to rest on in the stresses of life. It is about being deeper than skin. It is about sharing your life with another person. In Greek the word is “koinonia,” which means to have a shared life, to have that emotional connection with another person. This is shown beautifully in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” “Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and encouragement. That is the essence of koinonia.” (www.gotquestions.org/koinonia.html)
I find that there are those who understand the depth of koinonia. They are encouragers, sharing their experiences and their life. They share time and meals together, investing in one another with all of their time and resources. They love unconditionally, but do not withhold their Godly correction when the Spirit prompts them to speak out. This is a part that I see many shy away from. Ezekiel was appointed by God as the “watchman” of Israel. In a way, we are all called to be “watchmen” for those we love. In chapter 3 God warns him, “If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible…” (v 18, NLT) I know that this appears to be extreme. Of course if their sins would lead to death then we would warn them, we are their friends after all! But that is precisely the point, sin is sin. There is no sin that is greater than another so whether it be keeping a friend from stealing, from cheating on their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, lying to get out of work for a day, sleeping with someone they are not married to,…the list goes on and on and on. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, if I know that it is wrong in the eyes of God, then it is my responsibility, as their friend, to say something. To speak out and remind them that what they are choosing to do is wrong. Of course God forgives, but he also has placed us in certain people’s lives (and certain people in our lives) to act as “watchmen” in discernment and love.
In line with that, we must keep in mind the environment we create. Am I showing the world that I am a follower of God and seeking Godly friendships? Or am I showing the world that I don’t care what God says, I am going to choose to do whatever I want by my own desires. We are living testimonies and very often, friends need to see that we are not just spouting out words, but living by God’s standards. We need to create an environment within ourselves that is welcoming to the movement of the Spirit. Because Jesus died, not only, so we could have a relationship with God, but that we could have a relationship with others through God. That too is a part of the miracle of the cross.
So, how good of a friend are you? How good are your friends? DO you have someone that you can confide in for Godly counsel when you need to hear it (even if you don’t want to hear it)? Do you have friends that love you enough to save you from making dire mistakes that could be prevented? I would suggest you take the time to consider it and thank Jesus for putting those people in your life. I know I have.

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