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Pastor to Pastor

The Path to Perfection

Friendship is crucial for sanctification.

Growing into Christ (3)

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27.17

Spiritual Friendship
Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
“…friendship is a path that leads very close to the perfection which consists of the enjoyment and knowledge of God, such that a man who is a friend of man is made into a friend of God, according to what the Savior said in the gospel: ‘Now I will not call you servants, but my friends.’”

Two important aspects of spiritual friendship are glimpsed here. First, true friendship focuses on God, on knowing Him, dwelling in His presence, and becoming like Him in all the perfections of virtue and knowledge. The goal of friendship is the goal of discipleship: to increase into Christ in every way. True spiritual friends thus sharpen one another as image-bearers of God and Christ. And, second, such a project is a path, a journey. True friendships are going somewhere together. They have intermediated goals and objectives, and take stock of their progress. Friends discover new ways of encouraging one another in the journey. They carry each other when discouragement or weariness befalls. They enjoy the journey together by enjoying together the presence of the Lord. Such friends exude a stronger presence of the Lord Jesus than one of us journeying alone.

Talk with a close friend about these two aspects of spiritual friendship. In what ways are you sharpening one another according to these two criteria?

T. M. Moore

Pastoral Hope Initiative
Pastor, where are you in your walk with and work for the Lord? Are you growing? Covering all the bases? Working fruitfully toward the Kingdom of God? Our Pastoral Hope Initiative can help you establish a framework and baseline for steady, fruitful growth into the Lord Jesus; and for the remainder of this spring, we’re waiving the fee for men who want to work through this 14-week protocol. Watch this brief video, then, if you’re interested, let me hear from you at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The calling to make disciples
As pastors and church leaders, making disciples is our primary calling. But we need to make sure we’re growing as disciples, and that our tools for disciple-making are in top condition. Our book, Fan into Flame, provides an overview of the work of disciple-making, together with helpful assessments to discover areas where you most need to grow. Order your copy by clicking here.

The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All quotations from Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship, tr. By Mark F. Williams (Scranton: The University of Scranton Press, 1994, 2002).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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