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Nurture Your Friendships
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4 NIV).
I love to grow plants. Every gardener knows that the key to a bountiful harvest of flowers, fruits, or vegetables is to carefully nurture the plants. Gardening is a test of patience. We plant and then wait.
Our friendships are similar to gardening in that both require nurturing. If we don’t feed our relationships with our friends, we will eventually have no friends. Life is about priorities. We make time for the things and the people that are important to us. A friendship with God is like any other friendship—you have to make time for it. God is a jealous God and does not want you to have any false gods before Him (Exodus 34:14). The Word teaches us in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God.” If God is your best friend, then doesn’t He deserve your best?
So, how do you build a deep friendship with God? This is a life-long process of growing closer each day. Some days I make more progress than others. Below are a few tips I have learned over the years.
We all live busy lives. We tend to focus on what is in front of us. There is so much noise in our lives. God is not going to try to out shout all the other voices in your life. To build a relationship with God requires us to slow down, be quiet, and listen. The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Think about how many times Jesus sought out a quiet place to be alone with the Father.
Psalm 25:14 teaches, “Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone He shares the secrets of his promises.” A blessing for the righteousness is friendship with God. Our righteousness is not from our own doing but is the fruit of our faith in Jesus. One of my favorite Bible verses is Matthew 6:33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” A friendship with God requires us to slow down and turn away from the desires of the secular world and intentionally turn toward the desires of the Spirit.
Throughout Scripture, God provides invitations for a relationship with us. The key is how we respond to the invitation. The invitation is given to all but not all respond so not all bear good fruit. The Parable of the Sower is a parable of Jesus found in the three Synoptic Gospels in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15. This Parable illustrates that sower sows the Word but not all respond positively.
Prayer: Dear God, We want to hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold but not for our own glory but for yours. Help us to find time to nurture our relationship with you so we can bear good fruit to help build Your kingdom. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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