Tozer went on to describe true friendship as requiring “no artificial stimulation.” Most of us have experienced the reality of what Tozer describes above, haven’t we? There are some who are acquaintances or people we aren’t particularly close to, and then there are our friends.
Consider Paul’s words to the church at Rome:
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now, at last, succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.Romans 1:8-12
A true friendship is one where we are stimulated by one another so that we both are encouraged. Look at the characteristics Paul describes in his relationship –
He is thankful for the friendship (v.8). Even though they may (or may not) live far away, I can think of some friends who mean much to me. Who are you thankful for?
Paul prayed for his friends (v.9). Just last week a good friend of mine received a positive report from his latest visit with a specialist. Many prayed for him and we all were happy to hear the good report.
Paul looked forward to seeing his friends! (v.11). How many of us miss others in our lives when they’re not around? How many people are there that you long to see?
Paul viewed friendship as a form of mutual encouragement. ( v.12) Yes, Paul had something to say (always), but he also expected to be encouraged by the presence of his friends. There is a give and take in the best relationships so that each of us grow.
We all want to experience these kinds of friendships. How well are we at helping to sharpen our friends?