Faithlink Discussion: Friendship and Faith

by jacobjuncker

As I consider what it means to foster holy friendships, I am reminded of a quote from John Wesley in his Preface to Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739):

“Holy solitaries” is a phrase no more consistent with the Gospel than holy adulterers.  The Gospel of Christ knows of no religion, but social; no holiness, but social holiness.  Faith working by love is the length and breadth and depth and height of Christian perfection.  This commandment have we from CHRIST, that he who loves GOD, love his brother also; and that we manifest our love by doing good unto all men, especially to them that are of the household of faith.  And, in truth, whosoever loveth his brethren not in word only, but as Christ loved him, cannot but be zealous of good works.  He feels in his soul a burning, restless desire of spending and being spent for them…

Ye are taught of God, not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but to instruct, admonish, exhort, reprove, comfort, confirm, and every way build up one another.  Ye have an unction from the Holy One, that teacheth you to renounce any other or higher perfection, than faith working by love, faith zealous of good works, faith as it hath opportunity doing good unto all men.

There is no such thing as a solitary human being.   Were were created for community.  The only part of creation that was “not good” was the lonely man.  For the LORD God saw that the man was without community and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” ( Genesis 2:18a).  So God created another human to be a helper and partner (c.f. Genesis 2:20-25): a community of support and love.  Apart from this type of supportive environment, we fail to thrive.  We need community in order to feel secure, grow and thrive as individuals. 

The same is true for the church.  As John Wesley notes, there is no such thing as a solitary Christian.  When we separate ourselves from a community of faith, our faith becomes stagnate.  We stop growing and often start to backslide.  It is only through the constant care and support of a community of faith that we are able to grow in our faith.  We cannot call ourselves Christians unless we are grounded in some kind of faith community.  You cannot sit alone at home or at work, read a book or watch a television program and call yourself a Christian.  All persons who want to call themselves Christians, must be involved in a community of faith.  There I said it.  Note: a community of faith does not have to be a “church” that sits on the main drag of your town.  Your community of faith may meet in a home or other “unconventional” place.  But, all communities of faith exist for the building up, in faith, of one another and the world.   We need community.  We were created for it.  Therefore,

Don’t stop meeting together with other believers which some people have gotten into the habit of doing.  Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25, The Common English Bible

What communites of faith are you currently involved in?  How do they support and encourage you to grow in your faith?

 

My comments are based upon the resource: “Faithlink: Connecting Faith and Life.”  Faithlink is a weekly adult discipleship resource published and Copyrighted by Cokesbury.  If you are a member or constituent of Christ United Methodist Church (Lafayette, IN) and would like to receive this weekly discipleship tool, simply email info@christumchurch.org to express your interest and you will be put on the weekly email list.
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