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Spiritually Speaking... We All Need a Friendship Train

By James A. Washington Contributing Writer | 9/22/2013, midnight

You know one of the things that is almost a necessity when you turn your life over to Christ is to consciously and deliberately surround yourself with other people of faith. Recently I have had the privilege of talking to people who are currently experiencing their own transformations and are exploding in their knowledge and thirst for the Word. I must admit, it’s kind of refreshing for me as I remember my own experience. For those who may not know, in the beginning I was so hungry and thirsty spiritually, that I thought I was headed to seminary.

For me, I needed that kind of instruction, or so I thought. When I told a minister friend of mine, he, without discouraging my enthusiasm, mad a valid point. You see one of my misconceptions at that time, was believing somehow, that intellectual pursuit was a solution to most of my confusion or ignorance of just about everything. I could and still do at times, rationalize anything. Boy was I wrong. That kind of thinking kept me out of church and my friend reminded me of that. He let me know as I have stated on numerous occasions, that many people can quote scripture backwards and forwards, but yet have no faith. He thought I would be better served if I surrounded myself with people who were as hungry as I was for the Word. He surmised that fortifying one’s emerging faith was far more important at that time than was spiritual intellectualism. That’s when I started bible study.

That pastor friend of mine was right and indeed my efforts to become a mature Christian have been matched stride for stride by those who have attended bible study with me. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be a part of another person’s spiritual growth. To have someone else recognize spiritual awakening in you is also a wonderful thing; blessing type stuff. That’s why I find it sometimes overwhelming to watch others testify to what God is beginning to do and what He has done in their lives. It rekindles those early feelings I had upon the recognition and acceptance of Christ as my personal lord and Savior. I am reminded of how people responded to me. Friends that I knew for years opened up to my opening up about Christ. Folk that I knew forever and never knew them as believers seemed to appear out of nowhere. Was it them? Or was it me?

I’m convinced that until I offered, until I confessed to them of my transformation, they had no way to touch that part of me. Once opened, fellowship had a place to enter my up-until-then walled off soul. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” Philippians 3:8-9. Think about it and surround yourself accordingly.

May God bless and keep you always.