True Friends

Paul closes his letter to the Colossians in the same way he closes many of his writings. He mentions by name several people who have made an impact on his life and ministry. Although many people would look to Paul as someone who had accomplished great things on behalf of God and his church, Paul is quick to remind anyone who will listen that he cannot do those things on his own. He is fully dependent on the power of God, and he works together with the people God has placed in his life.
We have people like that in our lives, too. In his book, On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts, James K. A. Smith describes what people like that are like. He calls them true friends.
“A friend is not an enabler. Love doesn’t always look like agreement. A true friend is the other who hopes you’ll answer the call, who’s willing to challenge you and upset you in order to get you to look at yourself and ask yourself: What am I doing? What do I love? Who am I? The true friend is the other who has the courage to impose a conviction, who paints a substantive picture of the good, who prods and prompts you to change course and chase it, and promises to join you on the way.”
We need friends like that in our lives, and we need to be friends like that to the people we care about. Even for someone with the faith and perseverance of Paul, those kinds of relationships matter.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

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