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Pastor to Pastor

Belonging to One Another

It's iron sharpening iron, all the way.

Growing into Christ (4)

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. Philippians 2.19, 20

Spiritual Friendship
Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
“However, once a friend has been accepted, he must be so tolerated, treated, and agreed with that, as long as he has not permanently departed from that foundation of friendship which we have agreed on, he will belong to you and you to him, as much in temporal as in spiritual matters, so that there will be no difference between you on affairs of the soul, the affections, your wills and opinions.”

Soul friends will frequently disappoint or disagree with one another. This is part of that “iron sharpening iron” process the Lord uses to shape one another for His Kingdom and glory. As long as love for God remains the foundation of our relationship, we can work through our differences or find ways of tolerating them in love. This is hard work, to be sure, but this is the way friends relate. None of us is perfect or knows everything with complete knowledge and insight. If we didn’t clash or rub one another wrong from time to time, our friendship might not provide the impetus for growing into Christ that the Lord intends. In our friendships, we need to make room for differences of opinion, but without compromising love for one another and for the Lord.

How does Jesus’ friendship for us model the behavior Aelred recommends in this excerpt? How have you experienced His long-suffering with you as one of His friends?

The journey of spiritual maturity

Growing into the Lord is both a personal and corporate adventure. Each us can become more like Jesus, and so can our churches. As we do, we will impact people, culture, and our times for the glory of God and progress of Christ’s Kingdom. Our free, online course, Introduction to Spiritual Theology, provides an outline and overview of the journey toward spiritual maturity. For more information and to register, click here.

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 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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