I was reading Called to Create in my devotion time, and this quote from esteemed writer C.S. Lewis really plucked my heart,
“Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”
Well, Lewis, I’ve never thought of that before. But diving into this query could have especially helped when I was in college and when I was transitioning into a young professional. Perhaps that is why I felt lonely, even though I was at a “framily” dinner surrounded by 15 and 20 people. Perhaps that is why I paused before sharing good news, because who do I tell that won’t feel bad or be jealous? Perhaps that’s why my social media could be full of followers, but, if I’m honest, few friends. As Lewis challenges, friendship should be pleasurable, and we should be able to find this pleasure among the genuine fellowship of Believers.
This made me pause and think of how this belief impacted Lewis himself. Although he lived during the early to mid 1900s, he and his friends continue to impact society even today. As Called to Create notes, “During the 1930s and 1940s, Oxford was home to some of the world’s greatest Christian minds, including Charles Williams, Hugo Dyson, Owen Barfield, and most famously, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and his brother Warnie Lewis. This group of friends, known simply as the Inklings, shared a love of the Lord and literature, each of them following God’s call to create through their writings.” From this group, modern society is still impacted by great works like The Lord of the Rings; The Hobbit; The Chronicles of Narnia; and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The legacy of this friendship still impacts the world today. How about yours?
As ambitious women with divine purpose and big dreams, Lewis’s careful selection of friends can help us assess and appreciate our own. If I were in conversation with Lewis today, I’d add to his dialogue that good friends should make us feel empowered. We know this because when two or three agree on what they ask of God, God delivers. Even further, when two or three gather in the name of God, He resides right there among them (Matthew 18:19-20). Our friends shouldn’t bring stress, gossip, and drama into our lives. Our friends should bring more of God into our lives, and they don’t have to be “super-saved” and hyper-religious to do it. Their attitudes, their advice, and their general conversation should be centered on whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely,of good report, moral, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). This means they don’t distract us by being jealous of our relationships, our jobs, or our accomplishments. They don’t pressure us or put us in situations where we feel we have to be someone we’re not. They tell us the truth when we’re in the wrong, and they help us move back toward what is right.
Good friends keep us true to ourselves and the God that made us. That’s empowering.
Among the right friends, there is also a divine sense of encouragement. This is different from the “attaboys” and “you go girls” we may receive from the miscellaneous cheering sections of our lives. It differs, because when these positive words come from friends who have been praying with us, thinking about us, and who sincerely desire to see us succeed, it provides a sense of spiritual uplift that can’t be gained from the high fives of the general crowd. Ecclesiastes. 4:9-12 even advises that there is “good reward” for the toil of friends. Because when one is down, the other can lift him up. As Christians, we were designed to tap into and serve the needs of people, including each other. We see the hurts, cries, and even celebrations of others on a completely different realm. We see into the heart. That’s what gives us the ability to stir up each other to love and do good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). That’s what gives us the ability to say the right thing at the right time, or to text the perfect meme or funny video to diffuse the situation, or to pop up at a friend’s apartment when she’s been having an awful day. We see more deeply, we understand more deeply, and our words come from a deeper, divine, and authentic place. A true friend can peer into your heart and know exactly what you need. A true friend can provide the deepest sense of encouragement.
Lastly, a circle of good Christian friends gives us space to transform (Rom. 12:2). Have you ever completely bawled your eyes out on the shoulders of a good friend, someone who is more like a sister? We should be able to release the worst of ourselves and become the best of ourselves among the trusted company of friends. Like a caterpillar forming a cocoon, the caterpillar needs a host plant upon which to grow, transform, and expand. Similarly, among a circle of Christian friends, there is space to be renewed mentally, refreshed spiritually, and rejuvenated in our purpose. Good friends can see us developing, and they push us to continue. They can see us growing stagnant, and they challenge us to address why. They see the potential in us, and they create an honest and nurturing environment within which we gain the confidence to succeed.
Among the assembly of the right friends, we have a cocoon for our greatest transformation.
As we move through college and even our professional lives, we should periodically ask our own selves the same question that Lewis posited, “Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” This is the measure by which we know who to keep, who to cut, and who to move inner or outer circles. Much like the disciples to Jesus, the Inklings to C.S. Lewis, and even Gail to Oprah, the right friends help us be who we need to be to achieve our life’s purpose.
Therefore, invest in connecting with friends who are committed to empowering you, encouraging you, and giving you the right space to transform into greatness.
Eat, Drink, Do: 3 Basic Principles for Health by the Bible by Dr. Asha Fields Brewer
Called to Create by Jordan Raynor
Matthew 18:19-20, ESV- ‘Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” ‘
Philippians 4:8, ESV-‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ‘
Ecclesiastes. 4:9-12-‘Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? ‘
Hebrews 10:24-25-‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ‘
Rom. 12:2-‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ‘