REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on April 28, 2015. Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“How Many Real Friends Do You Really Have?”
He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
Now, be honest: Have you ever looked at someone on your Facebook friend’s list and decided that it was time to “unfollow” them? But given that you cannot just de-friend that person, since that would be perceived as immature, passive-aggressive behavior, Facebook has given you the wonderful option to “stay” friends—that way the other person assumes that the two of you still have a friendship.
Okay, maybe it’s not that complicated for you. Today, we live in an age where we actually think we have hundreds, if not thousands, of “friends” via social media. Unfortunately, research reveals something else: “According to data from the General Social Survey (GSS), the number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in recent decades. ‘Zero’ is also the most common response when people are asked how many confidants they have, the GSS data show. And adult men seem to be especially bad at keeping and cultivating friendships” (Time, Mar. 2015).
As Paul traveled from city to city preaching the gospel, he faced constant opposition and persecution. However, he also added friends and trusted companions who accompanied Paul on his mission. These are what one pastor calls “spiritual friends.” A spiritual friend is someone who deliberately helps you to pay attention to God. And because we are hugely shaped through relationships, a spiritual friend plays a vital role in our own spiritual growth.
One of the qualities of a spiritual friend is that you have an admiration or a sense of respect for the person’s relationship with God. Another quality is that he/she is willing to risk discomforts in your relationship to point you towards God (Proverbs 27:6: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses”).
In reality, you don’t need hundreds of these “spiritual friends,” but certainly you do need a few. Take a quick inventory of your life: Do you have a spiritual friend? If so, keep cultivating that relationship. If not, ask yourself why you don’t have one. Have you been purposefully keeping them away? Begin asking God for a few of these in your life.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for all of the friendships in my life. Teach me to cultivate spiritual friendships where we may be able to speak truthfully with love into each other’s lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 15
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Sam 18:1-4: After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
Questions to Consider
- How does the author describe the friendship between David and Jonathan?
- What does Jonathan do in making a covenant relationship with David as his true friend?
- In using the phrase, “loved him as himself,” we are reminded of Jesus’ second greatest commandment— to love our neighbor as ourselves.
- By removing his robe, which was a royal robe (as a son of King Saul), and giving it to David, Jonathan was renouncing his claim to the throne. He also gave to David his daily warrior’s sword and bow. Jonathan’s gifts to David represent his willingness to give up and transfer his particular position as heir to the throne of Israel.
Spend some time praying for your friends. Perhaps you can reach out to them by asking how you can pray for them. Express your gratitude to them for their friendship.