By Guest Columnist Kristi Cook
There are two dates that will be on our tombstone one day: the day we entered the world and the day we exit the world. While those two dates are certainly significant in our lives, the dash in between is what matters the most.
How did you make a difference in your dash? I have always believed that EVERYTHING MATTERS. In James 14:4, our lives are compared to a vapor, a mist, appearing for a little while and then vanishing. While we are not promised tomorrow, we have purpose in today. We can get stuck in the “someday” syndrome, where we promise ourselves we will eventually get serious about our walk with the Lord.
Let’s start today.
The definition of imitator is “someone who copies the behavior or actions of another.” So, who or what are we imitating? The world will throw us all kinds of options.
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” To start living out our dash on purpose for Christ, we need to have lives that imitate Him.
How can we imitate Him? There are SO many ways that scripture tells us, but let’s start with a lesson I taught to our teens at church. Let’s be a godly friend. Sounds simple enough. Research shows through many various surveys and studies that, while our population has increased, friendships are on decline, and loneliness has become an epidemic.
Let’s look at scripture to see how God describes friendships.
1. Selfless - “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
The night before Jesus died, HE WASHED HIS FRIENDS’ FEET! (John 13:1-17)
2. Wise - “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
We can get all the good advice in the world, but, if it’s not godly wisdom, it’s useless.
3. Helping Each Other - “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10
Godly friends are there in the good and bad times.
4. Forgiveness - “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving others just as Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
We have to offer grace and forgiveness, just as Jesus offers us.
5. Faithful - “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
We have to be willing to tell and receive the truth from our friends. A friend who only offers surface flattery might not be genuine. Judas kissed Jesus right before he betrayed Him. Friendships need to be deeply rooted in Christ and not the world.
6. Kindness - “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12
7. Loving at All Times - “A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
How many of us need a friend that displays these qualities? How many of us long for friendships that are genuine, authentic and real? How many of us have been betrayed, hurt and stung by the fakeness of this world? We need to stop longing, and start pouring out.
Live out your dash, giving the world what you yourself would long to have in a friend. Go wash some feet.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kristi Cook is the author of the bible study “Ephesians Sealed in Christ.” She is the wife of Dr. Jay Cook, who is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Canton.