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Summary: Loneliness is a part of life, but it was never meant to be that way. Scripture shows us how to defeat this giant.

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Key Verse: Psalm 68:5-6.

INTRODUCTION

Judith Durham was one of Australia’s first international pop stars. As lead singer for The Seekers she toured Australia and the world and had a string of hits, including the first Australian group to have a No 1 hit overseas.

Yet while Durham appeared to be on top of the world, emotionally she was a mess. In contrast to her adoring fans she became deeply depressed about her weight and appearance. She started to hate her face - too pudgy, eyes too small. She developed a hatred for her body, considering her fuller figure unattractive. When superthin model Twiggy came on the scene her self loathing grew. Even after losing 16 kilograms she still felt fat!

Durham says that her depression was matched by loneliness. There was no one she felt she could talk to about it. "I was just consumed by it" she says. "You could go to a doctor and ask for diet pills, but I didn’t know if there was anybody I could have talked to who could have changed inside my head, who could have convinced me, ’It’s all right to look like this.’"

Source: Reported in The Sydney Morning Herald "Metropolitan" section Sept 1-2, 2001.

Judith Durham is not alone. Loneliness is an epidemic in Australia and it’s getting worse. A recent article in the newspaper says ....

Australians are losing friends as work and television increasingly dominate our lives. Research shows our circle of close friends has shrunk significantly in the past 20 years. In 1984, people on average had 10 friends they felt they could visit any time without an invitation. But a recent poll shows the number has plummeted to six or seven friends. And about one in eight (12 per cent) say there is no one they can just drop in on – up from 7 per cent 20 years ago. We are also less likely to feel comfortable asking our neighbours for a small favour, according to the national survey of 1075 people. Andrew Leigh, a social researcher from Australia National University, said: “People are watching Friends instead of making friends.”

But we were never meant to be lonely. We just haven’t been created that way. Right at the very beginning of human history God said that it was not good for man to be alone so he created a helper for him.

And even though we may have many connections and acquaintances – the research shows that our circle of friends are shrinking!

So how do we defeat this growing giant of Loneliness? Well, first, the Lord says he’s here to help.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land (Psalm 68:5-6).

So straight from the Scriptures this morning you will see that the Lord has provided the ingredients for building an ongoing, secure and satisfying friendship?

And the first ingredient is affinity.

1. AFFINITY

In friendships, affinity at it’s most basic level, is an attraction between two people. You simply like each other.

In the Bible we see this in the friendship David – a lowly shepherd boy – and Jonathan – the king’s son.

Jonathan became one in spirit with David

(1 Samuel 18:1b).

They just hit it off right from the start.

It’s easy to test if you have an affinity with a person. You simply need to ask yourself what your immediate reaction is when they walk into the room? Do they lighten your mood or make you smile?

However, there’s more to affinity than simply liking someone. Affinity also means we share some common ground. We work together or play sport together whatever. And our lives are full of these relationships – you may have several hundred. But you can’t build lasting friendships on surface level affinity alone.

Lee Iacocca was once the President of the Ford Motor Co. and he said that the biggest surprise of his career wasn’t being sacked from his high powered position – it was what happened afterward - - nothing. Nothing happened! In his autobiography he wrote, “I was hurting pretty bad. I could have used a phone call from someone who said, ’let’s have a coffee.’ But most of my friends deserted me. It was the greatest shock of my life!”

Lee shared a common workplace affinity with most people in his life – and when that was removed, his friendships evaporated.

Jonathan and David had a lot in common too. They were both Jews and soldiers. But it was their deep love and commitment to God that was the basis of their friendship. And get this, their relationship lasted a lifetime – even when it became clear that David was to replace Jonathan as successor to the throne of Israel.

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