As September rolls in, students are soon returning back to school and beginning the process of learning all over again. However, another important aspect of this new season is the development of great friendships.
It was at a bible study almost four years ago that I heard this statement that ‘People are in your life for a reason and for a season’ . It’s up to us to figure out who’s in our lives and what purpose they are designated to serve. When I talk about ‘tribe’, I am referring to the importance of developing an environment and friendships that are purposeful. We are used to hearing our parents say ‘Show me your friends and I will show you who you are’ and that “Bad company corrupts good character”[this is actually a bible verse, 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)]. But on a real level, the people around us are very vital to our growth and to who we become. These are the people we allow to sow into our lives and they influence us whether we like it or not.
When God wants to bless us he introduces someone new into your life, to bring a new and fresh perspective to broaden our insight and to inspire and bless us. Now, at times it can be difficult to trust people and let them into our lives and divulge our inner struggles to an outsider. But God made us for fellowship right? And would it not be considered a sin for us to forsake the fellowship of fellow believers. Sometimes we even need to ask ourselves all the “lone soldier” tactics we may have employed thus far what has been the profit? Has there been any tangible improvement in our lives?
“Walk with the wise and become wise: associate with fools and get in trouble.”
– Proverbs 13:20 (NLT)
An interesting concept to me in the christian faith has been the topic of accountability. At first, I had always thought that we are held only accountable to God according to Romans 14:12 (NLT) “Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” So, to me this means we are all on an individual and personal walk . Therefore, the only person I may be held accountable to is God. However, in that same chapter where it seems we are being told to do our own thing (verse 5), it also states the importance of interdependence (verse 13), and not causing one another to ‘stumble and fall’. Yet again, in Luke 17:3 (ESV) “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins rebuke him and if he repents forgive him.” What does this mean exactly??
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. This is the interrelated structure of all reality.”
-Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Well, we human beings are made to cohabit in a state of interdependence. We should have vertical relationships, that is our fellowship and walk with God as well as horizontal relationships which is our relationship with our fellow human beings. We cannot pick and choose which one to focus one. In order to be well rounded individuals and in order to fully achieve our purpose on Earth we must learn to live at peace with all men on Earth whilst also keeping our minds on reigning in eternity with Christ. At times it can be difficult to try and balance out these two and slip into the struggle or either being too worldly and allowing the cares and worries of life to overwhelm you. On the other hand, it can lead to living life without regard for those around you or living life recklessly because after all we are “in this world and not of this world”. Ultimately, this confirms that #NoManIsAnIsland. Even island countries need to consolidate with neighboring nations in order to survive.
“As iron sharpens iron so a friend sharpens a friend”
-Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
If we are being honest with ourselves and we truly desire growth in this Christian race as well as walking in our purpose on earth, then we will realize that we require friends around us that can check us. Not just in the social aspect but also the spiritual aspect. It should be normal for a friend to message you and ask ‘hows your spiritual life going?’ And you in response should feel comfortable enough to be honest with them and let them know if its currently non existent or if you and the Holy Spirit are currently best friends. As young adults, our minds are still being shaped and what we do now will affect the direction of our lives. It sounds dramatic I know but honestly at times it is easy to forsake and belittle the importance in guarding those we surround ourselves with.
Now, it is not just in terms of your spiritual growth that one requires sound friendship. One might require friends that are financially astute to advice you on money matters, or you may need advice in furthering your career or doing better in your academics. At times, we require different friends to play different roles in our lives. In our “tribe” of friends it is important to discover what your strengths are as this can reveal your role within your friendship group. This can even be essential in helping us figure out our life’s purpose by highlighting our strengths and weaknesses.
These should be the people that will keep us accountable, people that we will learn from and people that should be able to correct us and vice versa.
“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”
Similar to accountability, there is also seems to be an emphasis on the importance of mentor ship. We need people that are where we want to be to and people that are where we used to be. We need people that possess the traits and skills we hope to develop and to avoid complacency and mediocrity. We also need people who have skills we think are unattainable to push us beyond our own predetermined limits.
We have to be deliberate in the kind of friendships we develop and to a certain extent be conscious of building a “tribe” that encourages growth and where we are may be pushed to fulfill our purpose.
My prayer is that God grants us the grace to form the right friendships that will help propel us forward in Jesus name. Amen.
Mo 🙂 x