Photo Above: (Campo Del Moro Avenida) Madrid. Spain. Photographer: Esetena
Community and Friendship
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 Corinthians 10: 24
24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
We in America live in a very isolated and individualistic society. I read at least one fairly recent study that stated one of the main reasons for suicide in our country is transient relationships. In light of this we as the people of God should focus on strengthening our community and individual relationships. We read from the Scriptures that the early Church placed a large importance on community and relationships. One of the early descriptions of the early church is in Acts 2:46 where it states “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they (the church) received their food with glad and generous hearts.”
I believe we can have the same kind of community the early church possessed as well. I believe this starts with each individual knowing what it means to be a good friend and a good member of the community. So what does a good friend look like according to the Scriptures?
There are many important aspects of being a good Godly friend but I think one of the most powerful relationship attributes comes from Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he states “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When you read the other Epistles of Paul you consistently see this same heartfelt care for those whom he is writing to. John Chrysostom a fourth century church father is quoted as saying “”Put the whole world on one side of the scale and you will see that the soul of Paul outweighs it.” And you see this very weight of compassion in his letter to the Romans where he says he would rather be cut off from Christ over the rest of his countrymen who have been rejecting Christ: “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul’s maturity gave him the mind of Christ, where he was willing to place the importance of others above himself, even to the point of sacrifice.
There are probably many other attributes in the Scriptures that guide us into the kind of relationships God has for us but I will end this blog post with a few scriptures from 1st Corinthians on the definition of love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”