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One of the lost nuggets of wisdom held by a previous generation was the surpassing worth of a really Godly friendship. When I say friendship, I'm not talking about the guy that lives next door or the lady who works in the cubicle next to you. I'm talking about the individual that you lean on, and that you have learned through hard experience that you can trust; I'm talking about the friend you have absolute confidence will be there when you need them.
But just having a person like this in your life is NOT the wisdom I'm referring to. This is only a starting point. I'm referring to a really Godly friendship. Many people today identify their friends by their Facebook friend count or the number of likes and retweets their social media postings garner. And nobody ever says no to having more friends. Today, friendships are measured most by how they make us feel.
But what about the morality of the friendship? This is a question that is no longer asked today.
The wisdom of previous generations held that you could know something about a person based upon the company he or she kept. Friends were considered a reflection of a person's morality. And this was based upon the Scriptures. Paul warned the church in Corinth that their doctrine of the resurrection was sliding into heresy based largely upon the friendships they were maintaining (1 Cor. 15:33). Certain "friends" (notice the scare quotes?) in the church in Corinth were influencing others into a repudiation of the Gospel. Previous generations of Christians understood something that we have largely ignored: those with whom we associate always influence us, either for good or for bad.
Non-existent is the person who self-consciously thinks to himself, I will pursue a friendship with someone who is Godly and will challenge my own spiritual immaturity and sinfulness simply through his presence in my life. A friendship that pushes us out of our own complacency is probably the last thing that the Facebook generation is looking for.
But it's the kind of friendship that we need in order to draw closer to God.
And it is exactly this kind of friendship that we must observe between our Elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and our Deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13). Do we observe among the leadership in our a church a form of godliness that will lead to them sharpening each other, just as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17)? Or do we look for leaders that will simply serve to affirm each other and make each other comfortable, a group of yes-men who easily hand over their rubber stamp?
Are we looking for Facebook friends within the leadership of First Baptist Church, or do we see godly friendships among our leaders that will push all of us to greatness?