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Begin Here

Friendships begin here.

Growing into Christ (4)

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 1 John 4.12

Spiritual Friendship
Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
“One must first lay a solid foundation for spiritual friendship upon which its principles may be based. If this is done, the person who is ascending the higher reaches of spiritual love by a direct path ought not to neglect this foundation nor go beyond it, but instead exercise the greatest caution. The foundation of which I speak is the love of God; by this foundation we should measure all those things which either love or affection prompts, all those things which either the heart secretly suggests or some friend openly urges.”

For the believer, loving God is the foundation for every choice, decision, and action in life (cf. Matt. 22.34-40). Only as we love God, and are growing in love for Him, can we sustain the kind of spiritual friendships Aelred has in mind. Because only the love of God gives us the strength to deny ourselves, preferring the needs of others to our own, and seeking ways to minister God’s grace. Love for God supplies the orientation to sort out proper from improper affections, and the wisdom to know what is the proper path for love. Soul friends should above all encourage one another in love for God, for by so doing they strengthen the bonds of friendship which bind them to one another.

How do you seek to encourage others in love for God? In what ways are you seeking to improve love for God yourself?

Loving God

But what does it mean to love God? What does love for God look like? Our Loving God Taxonomy offers some useful categories to help you assess the state of your love for God. Download your free copy of this worksheet by clicking here. Included in this download, you’ll find our Loving Neighbors Taxonomy, which can help you assess the state of your friendship with others.

Friends help friends take prayer seriously
Prayer provides a context for men to grow together in love for God and one another. But getting men to pray with any consistency or depth – much less to pray together – can be a challenge. The resources of our Men at Prayer program could help you enlist, equip, and encourage your friends to seek the Lord more consistently in prayer. Watch this brief videoto learn about free resources available through our men’s prayer movement ministry.

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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