(Read the Curious Journey essay on page 75. Kingdom friends are awesome!)
We are truly not designed to be islands. This is why when God had created everything and determined it was good, He responded to the exception: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
In this statement God begins to unfold His teaching on community. We are simply better off living in community with others. This can refer to a spouse, a family-member, a dear friend, companions in the callings of our life; or even those with whom we disagree and even struggle to love.
Kingdom friends are appointed by God but are cultivated by unselfish devotion. Let’s take a few minutes and search one of the most complete statements in the God Story about this very key concept. Romans 12 says it this way. What do you see?
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But is your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This is the gold standard for embracing kingdom community. In what ways are you experiencing it? Who is an integral part of this process with you? What life-giving truths do you extract as you read and weigh these words?