Within a community of believers, one can find, build and establish friendships. Having support and encouragement is vital especially for college students who are away from family and friends they have had most of their life. BCM seeks to provide opportunities for students to create community where friendships can form and grow. Obviously, this year is different and creating those opportunities has required adjustments. We are all trying to adapt and learn. Through I-Teams (small group Bible studies) and prayer partners we are trying to build community for students to create friendships.
In the Bible, Mark chapter 2, Jesus heals a man who was paralyzed. There are several components to the story; however, we are going to focus on the faith of the friends.
Mark 2:3-5, “Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
The faith of friends was noticed by Jesus. Jesus saw their faith, exhibited when they brought their friend, the paralyzed man, to Jesus by going to the roof, creating a hole and lowering him into the room where Jesus was. They believed Jesus could heal their friend and nothing was preventing their faith. The faith of friends provided the opportunity for the man to grow. Is our faith helping our friends to grow spiritually?
Why are friendships centered in Christ so important? The faith of our friends is beneficial to us. The faith of our friends makes a difference in our relationships. As our friends provide encouragement, support, hope, love, grace, strength, peace and so much more we are impacted. This concept is rooted in scripture:
Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Proverbs 27:17,“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
May we be a friend that allows God to move within us and our relationships with others so that our faith in Christ is evident. As we grow in our discipleship journey may we also build friendships upon trust, accountability, grace, and love. As we grow so the friendship grows and then our friends grow…and faith grows stronger as the commitment in the relationship is centered on Christ.
Matthew 17:20, ‘He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”’