If you are a spiritual director to a man, do not barter his soul; be not as the blind leading the blind; do not leave him in neglect.
- The Rule of Carthage (Irish, 7th century)
For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
- Philemon 7
Being a soul friend is a two-way street. In a soul-friendship we receive the attention, prayers, affirmation, encouragement, and instruction of one who cares deeply about our soul and our walk with the Lord. But we must also be prepared to give that in return.
To be a soul friend, therefore, one has to be fervent in prayer, devoted to growing in the Lord, constant in spiritual nurture, and hearty in love. Too often we engage in something like a soul friendship thinking only of what's in it for us. A true soul friend gains most by giving most.
We cannot be a soul friend if we're not growing in the Lord and His Word. That would be like the blind leading the blind. We cannot be a soul friend if we're not willing to make the investment of time and attention required. That would be to neglect our friend and to fail in the love of Christ.
Being a soul friend is thus a high calling, but it's one to which all of us should aspire. What could be more worthwhile than to fulfill our calling in life by helping another person really, truly, consistently, and manifestly grow as a disciple of the Lord? And, in turn, to be nurtured and encouraged in that same walk ourselves?
True community is based on love, and soul friends are in the best position to model and spread the kind of love that maintains the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4.3). So be a soul friend - a true soul friend. Everybody will benefit.
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This Week's Download: Soul Friends