Pay Attention! Something Needs Changing

If you are a mountain lover, you may not understand my affection for the beach. A fresh breath from the Spirit seems to accompany every stiff breeze of salty air. It reduces that roaring lion prowling around me to a whimpering cub. Maybe mountain air does the same for you. I get that. However, if I have to choose between the mountains or the beach, I always choose the beach. What about you?

We just returned last week from our much-needed Orange Beach break. (Say that fast three times.) I have to say, the Spirit did not disappoint. He never does. But sometimes, I don’t slow down long enough to pay attention. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about. 

I had two upcoming Bible lessons on my mind, one on the Holy Spirit and the other on David. So, I ordered some books on those subjects to take to the beach. I thought I would combine two of my favorite things by sopping up a little learning while soaking in the rays of sunshine. I read the first two books and began to see an unexpected common thread running through them. When the third book lassoed my attention with the same thread, I thought I should pay closer attention. I’ve walked with the Spirit long enough to recognize a pattern. When something keeps grabbing my attention, it’s His sweet way of holding my face in His hands and saying, “Pay attention! You have something that needs changing.”

It seems everything I read pointed me toward one thing – friendship. It’s our friendship with the Holy Spirit that empowers us to “unmessy” our relationships. The closer we listen to and obey His instructions, the better prepared we are to give others what they need. David had several friends who supported him when circumstances became overwhelming. There was Ittai, Zadok, Abiathar, Hushai, Barzillai, Joab, and his most famous and loyal friend Jonathan. (It would be worth the time to go back and read 1st and 2nd Samuel again with the topic of friendship on your mind.)

I finally saw what the Spirit saw in me. Pride. I have a “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” version of friendship. Some friends give me too much, others not nearly enough. But few there are who seem to be just right. I’ve put  pressure on those who think about friendship different from me. However, once we have the Spirit of Jesus living inside us we no longer live for ourselves. We live for the benefit of others, so that bystanders can see Jesus still living in us.

I’m going to leave you with the words of J.S. Park from his book The Life of King David (How God Works Through Ordinary Outcasts and Extraordinary Sinners). I’ve finally learned what I should have learned in elementary school; true, intimate friendship is a giving and taking of love, but we can only control our end of the loving.


“If we’re made to love God and love one another, then having and becoming a friend must be one of the highest priorities of our lives. Friendship is different than the general idea of “loving your neighbor.” It can’t be done with just anyone. It’s a unique kind of bond that’s both highly selective and widely vulnerable; it has a narrow gate but a broad road. You can open your time and service to just about anybody, but to open every part of your ugliness, dreams, passions, and insecurities is a colossal risk. It feels like letting someone walk through your ribcage, or giving someone your rib.

You might be surprised there isn’t much talk about friendship in the church or in pop culture. The few things we hear are all mixed up with sentimentality or pseudo-masculine language. It’s often a concept we take for granted, until we realize how hard it really is and how much it requires wisdom.

And as cheesy as it sounds, we need friends. We need partners on this journey, Every other longing in your life is caused by an imperfect world of pain, but the ache of loneliness is the only pain we were made with since the beginning. Life is meant to be lived together, in intense, face-to-face, grace-drenched communion.”


“So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, ‘May the Lord destroy all your enemies!’ And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.” (1 Samuel 20:16-17 NLT)

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