I just need a Timothy sometimes.
Paul did. (Phil 2:19)
I love that God gives us a peek into Paul’s need to be encouraged.
You know it’s okay, it’s even God-ordained for us to give and receive encouragement from others?
God tells us to continue to meet together and to encourage one another (Heb 10:25).
He never meant for us to be lone rangers.
Yes, we are to go to the Lord first and foremost (no human can replace that relationship). But we are to be in relationship with other believers, and we are to actively seek to encourage one another.
Paul is longing to hear from Timothy and to be encouraged by reports of believers growing in the faith and records this in his letter to the church at Philippi (Phil 2:19-24)
I think it is important to note that Paul sought eternal things for his encouragement.
While there is a lot to be said for a piping hot casserole, a hug from a friend, a kind word spoken at just the right time, (yes! Let’s keep doing this to encourage each other); I also think there is something deeply encouraging when we can help each other see God is growing us and using us!
And this is why we need friends who know us well enough to encourage us when they see spiritual growth in our lives.
We need friends with whom we can safely share our sin struggles and be vulnerable enough to even talk about things we just don’t understand about God.
Let me be real here- the other day my daughter told me my mom had remarked that she “could not believe how submissive I have turned out to be to my husband”. 😳
Now, if you knew me growing up, you’d clearly understand my moms’ remark. At my first wedding (I was later widowed), I had marched in and asked the pastor to leave out the word “obey” in our vows. (That didn’t go over too well, with that godly man!).
But when I heard Mom had said that, I smiled to myself; and I couldn’t wait to tell my dear friends Becky and Suzanne who have heard my struggle with submission and have prayed with me about it!
This friendship is a safe place where I can share spiritual struggles but also a place where I can rejoice and celebrate spiritual growth!
Listen, we all need these kinds of friends, but it requires being vulnerable on our parts.
We also need to BE these kinds of friends. Let’s be safe places for each other to share struggles. But let’s don’t stop there! Let’s spur one another on to submit more and more of our ways to God’s better ways! That’s what real friends do for each other!
Let’s speak truth to each other in love and not get our feathers ruffled when someone cares enough about us to talk to us about areas in need of more surrender to Christ.
Let’s also call out the good, godly traits we see in each other! Let’s celebrate them!
Let’s be encouraged when we see God at work in each other’s lives to help us “will and do for His good pleasure” ( as Paul said earlier in Phil 2:13)
Yes, God made us for relationship with Him but also for relationship with others. He never intended for us to walk this life alone.
He is so good!