“People, our friends, are means of cultivating deeper joy in our life.”

God often blesses us through people. He gives us joy by giving us friend and He gives us encouragement through people.

Paul and Timothy

– Share life for a number of years: traveling, teaching Scripture, and doing discipleship

– They were just two normal, human guys; whatever depth they had, we can have that too

– 2 Timothy, the last letter Paul ever wrote is a letter from Paul to his best friend before he is killed

 

2 Timothy 1:1-4

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.”

What does it mean to have joy in the gospel through the life of another person?

Timothy is a means of Paul having joy

– When we see evidences of the Lord at work in another person, the natural result is we can be more joyful in God

– Shows the Holy Spirit at work, shows the gospel is real through the life of another person, shows the scriptures coming to life in a person

 

Do you have that kind of friend?

A friend that when you see each other, you are spurred on in such a powerful, radical, deep way that you have a greater joy in Jesus?

It is not enough to be a Christian in a relational vacuum

– The Christian life is always played out with other people

– God is making himself a people, not individuals

– The ministry of Jesus was 3 years spent primarily with his 12 disciples

– The trinity is an example of a perfect, relational love

One of the greatest blessings of the faith is that God gives friends

 

Practical Advice

1. Make sure some of your closest friends are Christians

– Not all of your friends should be Christians nor should you hide in a Christian bubble

– If you want to grow and develop a deep, God-centered joy, the only people that can do that with you are Christians

– Don’t be afraid to get involved in church, to move out of your comfort zone, to spend more time with Christians

2. Make your best friends, friends of your gender

– It’s unwise to mix such deep relationships, emotions, vulnerability, and trust with hormones and attraction and cultural norms

– It’s not inherently bad to be close to someone of the opposite gender, but it can be dangerous

– Focus on the kind of relationships that can last your whole life

3. Don’t be afraid of the opposite gender

– Don’t focus on your gender to the neglect of the opposite gender

– Both brothers and sisters can spur us on in our faith

4. Maximize living together

– College is the best time to make friends – Take advantage of the opportunities!

– The gift of a friend is priceless, don’t waste it – pray together, hold each other accountable, study the Bible together, talk about things that really matter

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