Faith-Filled Friendships

Written on 07/08/2022
Christian Dunn

Verse: Acts 20:36-38

36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

This scene has always been really powerful to me. Paul is sailing back to Jerusalem and doesn't have time to stop in Ephesus one more time. So he sends for just the elders of that church to meet him at the shore. During this meeting he basically gives a farewell speech to them, charging them to keep the faith in his absence. He tells them that he knows he won't ever see them again.

What strikes me is the power of this very human moment that Luke records for us in Scripture. When we read the Bible, some of the people who are recorded in it can easily become larger than life. But here we see a normal guy and his friends hugging it out because they know they'll never see each other again. This isn't a story about some superhero or larger than life person. This is about a growing group of men and women who are living their lives for Jesus. And what is beautiful is how deeply their friendships grew as they did this together.

And that's the short devotional point I want to pull out this morning. Take some time this morning and reflect on who God has given you to run this race with. What faith-filled friends and mentors has God given you who challenge your faith, encourage you when you are struggling, and pray for you and lift you up? Who are your brothers and sisters in Christ, your mothers and fathers in the faith? 

The other side of this is, who are you doing this for? Who are you supporting in their faith? Who are you encouraging?

If you don't have many of these relationships in your life currently, how could you go about cultivating them? What could you do to increase your circle of friends with whom you are "doing faith" together with? 

You see, it's easy to have friends who we "do life with" - but about people we "do faith with?" What about people who share our faith, who challenge us in our faith, who we know are people of the Word and people of prayer? We need to have friends - that's important. But we also need to have faith-filled friends. We need them. We need a circle of connections with people who love Jesus and define their lives around who he is and how he calls us to live. This group of believers will keep us growing and keep us strong. Without them it is far too easy to get discouraged, get off track, and even sometimes, lose the faith. We need each other. So who are you doing faith with?

I pray that you would help me to nurture and cultivate faith-filled friendships.