I hope you have been able to start in the reading for chapter 8 or are planning to soon. Even if you are not reading the book with us, I hope you will read this post!
The chapter you have all been eagerly waiting in excited anticipation for is finally here. It’s the bearing your heart and soul, crying on the shoulder of, long eye contact conversation, endlessly long hug with, chapter about our friendships with other dudes! Many of you shutter in your seat as you read this and your palms begin to sweat just thinking about it. Obviously the things that come to mind (like above) are not what being a good friend and having good friends is about, but too often we avoid deep friendships with other dudes because of the awkward connotations (again…like above) that are associated with this. I HOPE that this is not the case with you!
This chapter delves into the different forms of friendships that we have in our lives. Everything from our acquaintances, to the guys we visit with briefly each week at church or in small group, to those who are our friends because when boiled down, it helps them out and elevates them in some way. We all know what these friends are like. I am pretty sure that fewer of us know what it’s like to have a deep, healthy and fruitful friendship with another dude. One of the most important reasons and hopes for our church’s New Commandment Men’s Ministry is that we would see you, our men, developing deep relationships with the guys or at least a guy in your group. I’m thankful for the couple of guys that I have relationships with similar to those described in this chapter.
My biggest challenge to us is this, be a good friend. Ask yourself the following question with each dude (actually with each person) that you come into contact with… “How can I move this person towards Christlikeness?” I encourage you to find ways, big and small, with each interaction to build the other person up in the Lord. This is not easy, but with practice we can grow and we will see others grow as well. If we are doing this with our friends we will naturally seek to serve them, to celebrate with them when a monumental thing happens in their life, to listen to them, to encourage them, to lovingly punch them in the face (figuratively and on a rare occasions, possibly literally) when they are being a self serving idiot!
My second challenge to us is open up to a friend. For me personally, this is the harder of these two challenges. It is much easier for me to be willing to help someone than it is to tell them that I need help. We need to humble ourselves and allow a friend or some friends to really get to know us… the REAL us. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a friend to effectively bear my burdens, challenge and encourage me if my heart, life, struggles, victories, defeats and weaknesses are in a fortified place more secure than well… Jericho. We need to allow our walls to come down so that we can have a mutual disciple making disciple type of relationship with others.
1 Samuel 18:1 “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
I leave you with this quote from page 103 under the “What Our Friends Do” sub-section.
“True Friends know you and want to be known by you—celebrate you and are willing to be celebrated by you. They challenge you and seek to be challenged by you. And they serve you and are willing to be served by you.”
Shoulder to shoulder with you,