Paul's Ponderings

Thoughts about following Jesus

Companionship is Essential for Life

{Ecclessiastes 4:9-12; ESV}
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

People are social beings. Which shouldn’t be a surprise since God created us for relationships. Therefore when relationships are absent from our lives we are unable to function properly. We need other people in our lives!

Most of us have been in a room filled with other people yet we felt intensly lonely. The reason is that loneliness isn’t about our proximity to people, but it is about our lack of relationships. It is the absence of real relationships, not the absence of people, which leads to loneliness.

Loneliness is the very first thing that God declared to be not good: Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18; ESV). What did God do to fix this problem? God didn’t just create another person; He created the perfect companion for Adam.

What this teaces us is that companionship is the answer to loneliness. If we fail to have companions then we will struggle with loneliness the rest of our lives. Companions are those people who are traveling with us on the journey of life. Sometimes the come alongside of us and help us in a time of need. Other times we come alongside of them and provide the encouragement they need. Companions are involved in each others’ lives.

When we are struggling with loneliness I think there are two basic lies Satan tries to get us to believe so we will continue to miss out on the life giving support of great friendships.

The first lie is: Romance is essential for life. The world promotes romance and couples, and it is easy to feel like you are missing when you are single. Trust me, I have been there. I did not get married until I was 38, and before that I only had 2 girlfriends of any significance. I spent many Friday evenings and holidays thinking a romantic relationship would cure my loneliness.

There are three dangers we face if we buy into this lie. The first danger is that we don’t appreciate the friendships that we do have. Rather than being an encouraging friend, we mope around and make ourselves depressed. The result is that we will either not want to do things with our friends, or they won’t want to do things with us, and the feelings of loneliness become even more intense.

The second danger is that we will stay in a bad relationship rather than face the reality of being alone. If we fear being alone then we will put up with a lot of frustration, abuse, and heartache caused by a bad romantic relationship. “After all,” we reason, “it isn’t as bad as being alone.” But we fail to realize the bad relationship robs us of the life God created us to live.

The third danger is if you are married and loneliness begins to creep into your heart you can reason that what you need is a new romantic relationship. Rather than working towards restoring your marriage you put the final nail in the coffin as you begin hooking up with someone new.

The second lie is: If people REALLY knew me they wouldn’t like me. Sometimes we are reluctant to pursue friendships because Satan whispers in our ear, “If they really knew you they would want nothing to do with you” The knowledge of our sins makes us feel unworthy to have friendships with people of good character. They seem to have it altogether and we know we aren’t even close.

Risk is involved whenever we pursue relationships. There is the chance that the other person may not like us. There is an equal chance that we may not like them. We all carry around baggage, no one has it all together, and so that baggage might be an obstacle that some people just cannot overcome, and so they will choose not to be your friend.

We cannot surrender to this lie, because it will prevent us from discovering the power of another person helping us through life. For much of my life I tried to handle my struggles on my own and they overwhelmed me. I was overwhelmed to the point of walking away from God. Finding the courage to open up to my friend Sam about my struggles brought healing into my life. No longer did I have to bear that burden alone. That is why companionship is so powerful.

For followers of Christ I think this lie is so detrimental to our lives because we think we have to have everything together. We have faith so we shouldn’t struggle with doubt, lust, finances, guilt, or any other temptation or sin. Because we have this unrealistic idea of what it means to follow Jesus, and because we can’t measure up, we end up hiding behind a mask most of the time. This prevents us from having the real authentic relationships we need. We need to risk being rejected to discover the friendships that will inject life into our lives.

Relationships are crucial for life. We cannot really follow Jesus without the help and encouragement of other people. These relationships are one of the tools God uses to shape us into the people that He created us to be. Faithful companions are essential to living the life God created us to live.

Questions to Consider:

  • How have great friendships helped you in your walk with Jesus?
  • What advice would you give to someone struggling with loneliness?
  • Why are relationships so important for our lives?

 

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2 Comments

  1. oh my.. your article sincerely helped. :'( i was so depressed at being so lonely that i failed to realise the life god created for me to live. i remember when i was younger, i was always called fat and ugly, and i would be bullied. i was naive. very. i was verbaly bullied, everyday in school. as i grow older, i shun people who come to me, having thought their gonna tease me anyway. i even form a barrier around myself. without realising, i have even forgotten He existed. thank you. oh thank you so much. your articles are a blessing.

  2. I am glad this post encouraged you Eunice. I am also sorry that you have been beaten up by the world. I pray that you will be able to find some great friendships to provide love and support for your life. Thanks for reading.

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