I love the quote that says, “Sometimes just spending quality time with good friends is the only therapy you need.” From the beginning God created us for fellowship. Fellowship with Him, and with others. And so He gifted us the blessing of friendship.
Friends are those special people in our lives who we trust with our secrets. The ones who know our hopes and dreams. They share our tears of joy and pain, and are the ones we can depend on when the going gets tough. Here in Galatians, Paul gives us instructions on being a real friend and how such a friendship fulfills, “the law of Christ.” (vs. 2)
Jesus gives us one simple command; to love. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39) So how can we be the loving friend to others that Jesus wants us to be? By bearing one another’s burdens.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov. 17:17) They say you find out who your real friends are when you’re at your lowest. Real friends are the ones that not only stay through the bad times, they offer to help carry the load. And if that load is due to falling in sin, Paul tells us to “restore such a one in a “spirit of gentleness.” (vs. 1)
Friends set aside their pride, remembering that we all fall short daily, all have moments of weakness, and all need help from time to time. And knowing that one day our works will be examined by God, (vs. 5) friends help friends with loving hearts that want to honor the Lord.
The truth is, we need each other. We need to trust, rely on, and depend upon other believers. God gave us each other to walk alongside, encourage, and spur one another on in the faith. The writer to the Hebrews says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”. (Hebrews 10:24-25).
But sometimes it can be hard being the friend who’s always helping another; especially when we all have our own burdens to bear. But Paul encourages us by saying, “Let us not lost heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (vs. 9)
On the night before His death, Jesus and His disciples shared one last meal together. As they reclined around the table the Lord spoke to them saying. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:12-17)
To be a servant of the Lord is a great honor, but Jesus gives us an even greater honor by calling us friends. So out of thankfulness, love, and friendship, “while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” (vs. 10)