After living in one city for over 30 years, my husband and I moved to another state.
It was very difficult to pack all of our things into boxes, tell our friends good bye and give our grandchildren one last hug.
I was thrust from the warmth of familiarity into the chill of anonymity. There was no family other than my husband, no friend, or community to reassure me. The only familiar activity was my quiet time with Jesus and I clung to that stability with all of my might.
My husband and I realized that we had to establish priorities quickly because a new environment makes it easy to leave life habits behind. Finding a church home had to be placed on the top of our list because we knew that satan takes advantage of every circumstance. Life is about choices and doing nothing IS the easiest choice of all. As Christians, we knew satan’s game plan and refused to cooperate.
Over the first couple of months, we visited every church within a reasonable distance from where we lived. Of course, no church felt like ‘home,’ because we’d never been there before! We reminded ourselves that the feeling of “belonging” comes with familiarity.
Finally, we chose a church where we felt God would have us to both minister and be ministered to. It was close to home, had Bible based preaching and meaningful worship. God had not spoken to us in an audible voice, but, we felt God’s peace in our decision.
Sunday, as I sat in church, I reassured myself with the thought, “Soon, I will put names with these faces and these people will be my friends.” Following the direction of the New King James version of Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly—;” we began to do ‘our part’ to make friends.
People were welcoming, and I understood if I made the quick judgment that some people “just aren’t friendly;” who wins in that game? Satan. Making friends is a two way street; introduction is the first step of relationship.
When we are both strangers, putting all the responsibility of ‘meet and greet’ on the other person is unreasonable! Finding activities on the church calendar that were ‘my kind of thing,’ I showed up, put on a smile, held out my hand and said, “Hello.” Once the door is open, the shared foundation in Christ can be built upon and strangers became precious friends.
The fact that making new friends at church is difficult speaks directly to how important friends are to both God and satan; for opposite reasons. Satan knows that if I have no friends at church, I will be vulnerable to his tools of discouragement, bitterness and loneliness.
Godly friends can sharpen our awareness of Christ and profitable attitudes. (Proverbs 27:17) He also knows if I choose ungodly friends to be my closest friends, I can suffer harm in my Christ walk. (Proverbs 13:20).
God knows that there is growth in friendship and strength in fellowship (Proverbs 11:14). It’s up to me which plan I choose to participate in. I choose to make friends.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Prayer: Father, help me to reach out instead of drawing within myself. Show me how to touch the hearts of others by revealing the love of Christ for them. I want to have friends but most importantly, I want to BE a friend. Thank you, I love you. Amen.
Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 11:14 For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.