We all have them but do we have a spiritual friend?
-That someone we sit down with from time to time who challenges us in our faith? Someone whom we trust with our secret thoughts and even goals – someone who will pray for us and check up on us to see if we have made any progress in our spiritual life.
“Accountability breeds response-ability.”— Stephen Covey
The best way to ensure that we continue to mature in Christ is to have someone that we are accountable to. Then when we begin to slip, there is someone there to steer us back in the right direction. I have found that when I tell someone my plans, it keeps me working toward that goal whether or not they ever challenge me on my actions.
We see many in the Bible that had someone guiding their lives. Paul was this for many, even for us today, but he was especially a mentor to Timothy. He reminded him to live the life taught to him by his mother and grandmother.
Many of us have had a grandmother that would always speak to us about spiritual things. Ii hope and pray that we are doing the same for those following after us.
Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine and learn from those who follow our example.Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:17
We were made for fellowship, especially a fellowship that encourages and gives us accountability. This is the definition of a true helper that God spoke about for Adam. (Genesis 2) My daily read in the disciplines encourages me to find these types of people in my life and possibly BE this type of person as well.
Begin to pray that God will lead you to someone with whom you can be open and prayerful about both the efforts and progress in spiritual life. For someone with whom you can begin to be mutually accountable for each other’s journey in faith.Bob Benson, Disciplines for the Inner Life
Here are a few qualities you might look for in a spiritual friend.
Maturity is an important characteristic here. Possibly, one would not look specifically for physical age here but for someone who is spiritually more mature. When I was young, I would sit right up close in the sanctuary. There were many reasons I did this, but mainly, I wanted to be near those saints that always seemed to get blessed. Yes, I wanted to get near the spout where the glory comes out.Get close to the spout where the glory comes out. #spiritualexample Click To Tweet
There could be times when someone of the opposite sex would be a great fit for you; however, it is typically better for your accountability person to be of the same sex. This removes any temptation for attraction to fall into the mix. I would suggest that unless this person is your spouse, choose someone of the same sex.
Seek out someone who is confident in experience yet humble in it. The confidence will free you to relax and be vulnerable. The humility will give you room for letting your own confidence rise; you won’t be intimidated by your own sense of spiritual distance. Their humility should display a gentleness and subtly in advising you. Your friend should be a listener, one who can draw the light of the Spirit out of you in your discussions.
This is a place where opposites attract. Having a spiritual friend with complementary traits will help you both grow in grace. If you want to get really serious in this area take a personality test. There are several free ones online, such as the enneagram.
What area is God calling you into? What are your spiritual gifts? Find someone that will have knowledge and wisdom in this area. Someone for whom you can be an apprentice. They will be attuned to where you should be directing your life and keep your eyes on the goal.
You can have more than one!
You don’t have to find someone that fits all these characteristics. It’s even better to have more than one. Just find them and tap into what they can offer you.
Your Spiritual Friend!
The above post was inspired by the reading of Bob Benson’s Disciplines for the Inner Life and Tikden Edwards’ Spiritual Friend.
And don’t forget to pay it forward.
Look behind you and see who is following you. Then get alongside them and do some encouraging yourself.
You might find a spiritual partner in some authors.