In our summer book club's discussion of Chapter 2 of The Company We Keep, we recognized that, in a fallen world, we often seek out and settle for relational substitutes rather than biblical friendships. As we discussed in Chapter 1, sin turns us inward.
Because of God's common grace, relationships built on these substitutes might even thrive for a time, but they all fall woefully short of God's purposes for true friendship.Homes identifies three types of relational substitutes: social media friendship, specialized friendship (based on stage of life or common interests), and selfish friendship. Within each of these relationship types, we sacrifice something. And because of what is lacking in these friendships, we never get to the best of biblical friendship. In fact, we often get the worst:
Often, the wounds in our lives are a direct result of insisting that somebody else be our savior and king. (Jonathan Dodson)We often even turn them into idols, expecting the friendship to do more than friendship was ever designed to do. Technology, social media, and common interests are helpful contexts and tools to help facilitate friendship, but friendship itself is always more than these.
Truly biblical friendship is embodied in the Trinity, empowered by Jesus Christ, and intended as a spiritual discipline among God's people for the purpose of glorifying him. This is the heart of the matter...Friendship as a spiritual discipline? This was, perhaps, the most thought provoking idea we discussed in Chapter 2. Discipline requires intentionality. It requires work. It means we keep the end goal in mind in order to stay the course.
And the end-goal is not me as an individual, or even us as friends. It's the glory of God.
P.S. After reading this chapter, I'm definitely interested in pursuing some of this topic further. The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family and the Digital World is now on my books-to-get list.
This post is the third in a series about a summer book club. If you'd like to read more, click the links below.
Post one: Summer Book Club Reading
Post two: What is Biblical Friendship?
Post four: The Marks of Biblical Friendship
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