“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov 18:24)
In His Kingdom, God give us a grace community of friends. He also provides at least one good friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Often times, keeping on the narrow road is not easy. The narrow road is one less travelled. It can be lonely. Some junctions have no clear signs to show the way to stay on it. It can be confusing and exasperating. Some sections are dark. We want to get through it quickly but to stay on the narrow road, we can only meander through it slowly. It is scary. And God can seem quiet during such times.
At 2am, when we are in the midst of such troubles, do we have a good friend whom we can call without a risk of being rejected, misunderstood or scolded? Who are these good friends? How do we develop such friendships?
These are individuals advisably of same gender who have the same love for Jesus, passion to live out the Kingdom life and calling, and a deep desire to want to keep on the narrow road till finish. They have an agreement to support each other in prayer and in practical ways to keep on keeping on.
To grow that relationship, they create a safe environment for themselves through upholding three basic principles of “no pretence”, “no leakage” and “no need permission”. The first calls for an openness and authenticity with each other about their personal lives, including their brokenness. The other party is to withhold judgment and provide a compassionate listening ear. The second calls for an absolute confidentiality to all information received. The third is an open permission to allow each to speak into each other’s lives. The other party is not to be defensive nor angry but to be open to listen.
Such a good friend is like a fighter pilot’s wingman who always provide the necessary cover and support during a mission and always stay close, keeping watch over for any external dangers, issues or erroneous ways that one may be oblivious about. He affirms and celebrates together in victorious times.
Such a relationship would of course take time to develop because trust is foundational. It always start with a gradual pace.
If you desire to have such a good friend, ask the Lord to provide. Then seek out a matured brother or sister to explore walking a journey together for a season (alternatively, ask church leaders to recommend). Once agreed upon, commit to meet at least once a month and for a season (e.g. 1 year). Meet and read the Scriptures together. The use of a devotional book is helpful. Share each other’s journey, personal challenges, brokenness, victories and pray for each other. Supplement these with regular short messages/calls of prayers, encouragements and updates. Through this, you will slowly find the relationship with that Kingdom friend grow.
To be a Kingdom kind of a person living out the Kingdom call is not easy. The bar Jesus sets is very high. However, the grace He provides will be equally sufficient. He never rejects when we boldly approach and persistently come to Him. In the narrow road journey He calls us into, He provides a grace community of friends and at least one good friend to help us finish it well.
In your current journey, do you have such a good friend whom you can call at 2am?
By Sam Tan (YCKC Bulletin 29 September 2019)