January 4, 2021

Love and Long for Friends

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 4, 2021  

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Philippians 4:1

Two Saturdays ago my phone rang—a call from my longtime friend and high school coach who was in town with an extra ticket for the SEC championship game. “Somethings I don’t have to pray about”, I quipped, followed by an enthusiastic “Yes, I would love to join you for dinner and  reminisce together.” The food and the football were just an excuse to catch up and relive meaningful memories. “Coach” led bible studies during my last two years of high school and the beginning of college, that have marked me for life. He leveraged his influence in my life for the Lord. He is my friend who I love and long for—why? He helped me stand firm in God. 

Paul writes to those whom God led him to invest time, truth and love into their lives, so they might grow closer to Christ in faith and love. The joy of watching friends grow in the faith brought the deepest soul satisfaction to Paul. They had stuck with him and had remained faithful to the Lord all these years. Since he loved them—he longed to be with them. Life’s crowning achievement for this famous apostle was how to best love others well. Love looks for ways to be together.

“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world” (Romans 1:7-8).

Gratitude for a friend or a parent’s positive influence is not to be taken for granted, but celebrated for its ongoing character affect. Love is not always recognized and given credit in the moment but grows the fruit of thankfulness over time. Love’s compounding affect causes past hurts to be minimized, even forgotten, while forgiveness and joy are maximized and given their proper place of prominence. Feeling unconditionally loved by a friend or family member is a gift that keeps on giving—undergirding faith in God—and longing to be in the presence of beloved friends. 

What friend can you honor by making time to be together—to know more fully and love more deeply? A life that rushes from one relationship to another dizzies the soul and preempts expressing true feelings. This relational malpractice carries the costly penalty of misunderstandings and unmet expectations. Fortunately, those of us who walk with Jesus—learn from the Lord—how to walk with friends in humility and love. Remember, some friends look up to you to point them to Christ’s love, while other friends have shown you the love of Christ throughout the years. Be with both. Be with the younger ones to pay forward the generous love already invested in you, and be with older friends so they can enjoy the fruit of their love for you. Love and long for beloved friends! 

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16).


Heavenly Father, I praise and thank you for friends who point me to you, l love to love them and be with them, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Who are my younger and older friends that long to be with me and me with them?

Related Reading

Proverbs 17:9, 17; John 15:13; 1 John 4:11; 3 John 1:1

Start the new year with Boyd’s newest 365 day devotional book: Seeking God’s Heart

Worship Resource

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