Christian friendship

The Doctor's Life Support for 26 September

I long to see you … that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

Romans 1: 11–12

Christian friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts with its mutual encouragement, support, fellowship and advice. We need to consider the role of other Christians in the matter of guidance. 1. Example. While benefiting from the example and experience of others, don’t try to copy them. God’s plan for your life is not identical with theirs. Don’t be forced, or force yourself, into their mould. 2. Advice. The advice of Christian friends may be invaluable. Paul’s zeal would have precipitated him into the uproar of the Ephesian amphitheatre, courting unnecessary trouble. The disciples and influential friends dissuaded him. Older Christians in the profession can assess our capabilities better than we, giving advice about openings, telling us how to set about fulfilling what we believe to be God’s will. The wise counsellor will always encourage someone to look to the Lord for his leading. 3. Ultimate accountability. The line between profiting from the experience and advice of another, and allowing someone else to determine our future for us, is a fine one. In Acts 21, we read of disciples who had been told by the Holy Spirit of the danger awaiting Paul in Jerusalem, confirming what he already knew. Some sought to prevent him from going, but Paul was not moved. He was confident of God’s guidance in the matter. When the advisers failed to persuade him they wisely stopped pressing him, but instead, with everyone else, committed Paul and his companions to God in prayer. Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your promise that your followers shall not walk in darkness. Grant that I may be humble enough to take advice, but discerning enough to distinguish between your will and mere human opinion.

Written by Muriel Crouch from the UK

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