I don’t know how many of you use Facebook, but some time ago, people were posting 25 random things about themselves. It struck me, reading some of those facts that there are things I still don’t know about people I consider very close to me.
Here are a few random facts about me.
- I really love kid’s sweets.
- I'm a bit too obsessed with my hair straighteners.
- I love going on holiday as long as the weather's good. If it's not, I'm unbelievably grumpy!
How well do we know our friends, especially those here at Emmanuel?
Christian fellowship is essential for our growth. Rick Warren says, "The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love Him, honour Him, and reign with Him forever."
When we have fellowship with one another, we can provide comfort and compassion when someone is grieving over a loss; support a friend who is going through a difficult time at work or at home; give to a person in financial need, or help someone find the inner strength to keep going with God when they are tempted to give up.
Christian fellowship fosters trust, hope, a sense of belonging, security and involves affirming, encouraging and forgiving one another. Christian love looks at the heart, not at the outside. Genuine friendship truly loves, not just for what it can get in return.
True friendship risks, overlooks faults, and loves unconditionally, but it also involves being truthful, even when it hurts. Genuine friendship comes from God. The Lord Jesus calls us His friends and He laid down His life for us (John 15). Relationships involve different levels of friendships, and that's okay.
But God designed humans for lasting relationships. Often our individualistic society offers only shallow, empty relationships. God wants us to have healthy, strong and loving relationships with one another. More importantly, though, He wants us to have a relationship with Him. If our relationship with God is good, His Holy Spirit can help us to truly love others.
So what is at the heart of Christian love? In the 3rd Century, Tertullian quoted words spoken by Pagans of the time regarding Christian communities “See how they love one another.”
Jesus said, “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Last Sunday we sang ‘show me how to love like you have loved me’ - powerful words to pray if you have been challenged, as I have, to truly love one another.