Summary: The Holy Spirit helps us develop and enrich our friendships as we focus on what we share together in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, "Since you have encouragement from being united with Christ, since you have comfort from his love, since you have fellowship wit
1. The Holy Spirit helps us develop and enrich our friendships as we focus on what we share together in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, "Since you have encouragement from being united with Christ, since you have comfort from his love, since you have fellowship with the Spirit with tenderness and compassion, then you can make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." (Phil. 2:1,2)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you focus more on what you have in common with other believers rather than emphasizing your differences of perspectives, interests or backgrounds.
2. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to look at issues from other peoples’ perspectives. Paul wrote,
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others." (Phi. 2:3,4)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you consider issues from others’ perspectives, needs and interests for the sake of friendships.
3. The Holy Spirit directs us how to work together with people toward the following MUTUAL interests:
A. Mutual Goals - Trust the Spirit of God to help you discuss with people how to synergistically work together toward mutually agreed goals.
Application: Ask God to help you cooperate through prayer, discussions and ministries that will contribute toward the accomplishment of enlarging the church in qualitative and quantitative measures for God’s greater glory and influence among all of earth’s six billion people.
B. Mutual Interests - Ask the Lord to help you work together on areas of shared concerns. Trust the Lord to help you to find people whom you can share your gifts, callings and special talents with.
C. Mutual Experiences - Ask the Lord to help you find areas of ministry, hobbies and activities that can act a bridge for enhancing improved interpersonal communications. Trust the Lord to let you use your opportunities to help break down barriers of distrust. Paul wrote about his friend Epaphroditus,
"I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare." (Phil. 2:20)
D. Mutual Understanding - Ask the Lord to help you find areas that you can agree to affirm one another’s strengths, interests and abilities. Trust the Lord to help you find ways that you can gain greater appreciation for one another’s faith, hope and labors of love. Paul wrote,
"We always thank God for all of you mentioning you in our prayers. We remember your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in OUR Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thes. 1:2,3)
E. Mutual Trust - Ask the Lord to help you develop more confidence in one another’s trustworthiness. Trust the Lord to help you find ways that you can prove your reliability, endurance and willingness to stay loyal to one another - regardless of some minor differences of opinion.
F. Mutual Commitments - Ask the Lord to help you share important ministry tasks that will contribute toward the causes of Christ. Trust the Lord to help you be drawn closer through shared spiritual accomplishments, challenges and problem-solving.