Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Humble Friendship

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about my attitude about friendship and relationships (almost a trite topic, eh? ;-)).

I realized that I don't necessarily enjoy the fact that being looked upon as "just a friend" in some sense seems to delegate me to a lower position in the affections of others. Isn't it true that when certain people express disinterest about considering more than friendship, we can feel "not good enough" or "less qualified" ? To be treated as no more important than any other, to take the lowly position--this can be difficult.

In a sense, though, doesn't this seem to be a struggle between grateful humility and selfish ambition? When it really comes down to it, isn't it so much better to be called up, to be summoned to a higher position not because we were striving to please others, but because other people recognize Christ within us as we let our focus rest on Him rather than on impressing others? Because I'm a girl who appreciates it when men are the initiators of advancing relationships from friendship to romance, I have a great opportunity contentedly be a servant in relationships, without needing to try to gain a higher position for my own self. (if only I always were faithful to use the opportunity! ;-)) The goal doesn't need to be to draw attention to myself or to climb to higher places in my own strength because of my own desires. In relationships and in every area of life, too often when we seek positions in our own strength we see that the consequence is being delegated to a low position in the end.

It reminds me of the parable in Luke 14, in which Jesus admonishes us not to seek the high positions for ourselves, since when we do so, we only put ourselves in danger of being publicly humiliated and humbled. It's better to be content with humility in the first place and to be exalted in due time.
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be
exalted.” (verse 11)


I'm not saying that once we're content with friendship, we'll automatically be exalted to the position of marriage. ;-) All I'm really saying is that right now we all have different opportunities to rejoice in the positions God has called us to. Since what He's called me to today is friendship and Christ-like agape love, rather than human romance, I've got the chance to be joyful in this state. Friendship is a great gift, and while sometimes we may desire more, if we don't give thanks even when we're in a more humble state in man's affections, we won't really be fit to be exalted. Anyway, no matter how humble our positions ever are here on earth--whether our humble places be in the realm of our jobs, relationships, or any other area of life--none of that really matters so much when we consider the fact that we're never in a low place in the affections, concern, and thoughts of the God of the universe.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. Ps. 139


I don't know if I could really ask for anything better than this--to know that God's thoughts towards me are more than the sands of the sea, and that He's with me and thinking of me wherever I am, whether I am humbled or exalted!

"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11b-13

That's the kind of attitude I want to have.
No matter what state I'm in, I want to be content and to remember that my strength is in Christ. Yesterday I needed His strength. Today I needed His strength. Tomorrow I'll need His strength. In the humble positions I need His strength. In the exalted positions I need His strength. In friendship I need His strength. If I marry, I'll need His strength...no doubt about it. ;-)

May we always be humble in every place He takes us.
May we never exalt ourselves, but do all for His glory alone.
May we find joy in His loving wisdom as He brings us through different seasons! =D

31 comments:

Rebekah said...

How blessed I am to have you as a friend, dear. I'm so grateful for you.. truly. *hugs*

"Anyway, no matter how humble our positions ever are here on earth--whether our humble places be in the realm of our jobs, relationships, or any other area of life--none of that really matters so much when we consider the fact that we're never in a low place in the affections, concern, and thoughts of the God of the universe." , Ouch, you hit me! I don't remember if we talked about friendships on the phone... but needless to say, fear of man is an ever present struggle, erupting from any slumber when greated with a new situation. But, really, the greatest friendship the world has to offer is there willing for me to accept... and He knows and cares. I should be completely satisfied with that.

"In the humble positions I need His strength. In the exalted positions I need His strength." *nods* How very true. I often equate being in an exalted position with being trouble free... yet an exalted state takes even more grace in many ways. *nods* Good post, my friend. =)

annakristine said...

Great thoughts! I came your way through Practical Purity. :)

Colin said...

Hi, Holly! How've you been?

Good post, too.

Anonymous said...

I have long scoweled at the term "just friends," and not simply because I have received it. It seems to point a relationship in a direction lacking meaning. I understand that it is not always the intention of the one speaking these words to destroy a well-built connection. The real problem lies in occasions where a romantic relationship is not even the intention of the "just friends" recipient. It is also to be understood that there are surely boundaries in friendship between members of the opposite sex. Friendship is so very underestimated. There is no "just" to it. The encouragement, prayer, reliability, trust, and comfort which a friendship can provide are far more valuable than a wedding ring. I believe friendship transcends marriage as does love.
Friendships change with time and life. It could be said that a friendship between a male and a female is always heading in one direction or the other (toward marriage or toward less communication), but I am not completely convinced of that though some relationships are obviously for a season. I choose to remove the "just." My justification: God provides us with friends for a reason. I think it is a good idea to pray about all relationships, the directions which they are heading, and for humility in each. God places us in each others lives for a reason so it's a good idea to always give friendship a chance as long as it is honoring God. In my opion, the only "just friends" are friends in justice. Celebrate friendship! :)

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