And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

// Hebrews 10:24-25

Growing up, I was blessed to have incredible friends inside and outside of the church. I can remember my father teaching me the importance of having friends who believed the same as I did and also having friends who didn't. One of the lessons my father taught me was that Christ-centered relationships will challenge, stretch, uphold and mature your faith. 

I believe that when people come together in common unity we realize we are better together than we are alone. When we begin to look out for one another it shows the character of the Father increasing in our life. The world does the opposite: it tells us that we don’t need each other, and to look out for ourselves. Jesus made it extremely clear in John 13:34-35, and in verse 35 He says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. As stated in verse 34, once we realize how much He loves us, it should propel us to love one another, spend time with each other and encourage each other.

The foundation of these relationships should always be love, and to love without any personal agenda attached. I've noticed in my own life, if bitterness, pride, selfishness and greed are increasing in my life, it's probably because I'm not spending enough time with others. Spending time with like minded people forces us to practice the fruits of the spirit. I've never heard someone say, “Man, I wish I would not have received that encouraging word”!

Here’s a challenge: pick two people to reach out to and encourage, and I can bet it will be refreshing to your own soul. We are better together!

// L.J. Slan