Awakening Rides on the Rails of Friendship

By J.D. Walt

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Romans 15:1–4 (NIV)


Consider This

Last week I shared with you one of the core convictions of life in the kingdom of Jesus: Our relationships are the mission. I repeat this frequently with the Farm Team at Seedbed and soon I will be saying it all the time in the local church I serve as pastor. 

There is another saying we are fond of in our community: Awakening rides on the rails of friendship. If our relationships are the mission, it makes sense that our primary work is in building these bonds as strong as we can. Relationships that are broken and in disrepair create barriers not only for the flourishing of the church but for the awakening of the unbelieving world. 

Though Paul’s letters be filled with theological reflection and pastoral wisdom, we must remember his purpose in all of them was to build up the body of Christ. Much, if not most of the time, this meant dealing with the brokenness in their relationships. I marvel at these words of Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi:

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, (Phil. 4:2–3).

How would you like to be Euodia and Syntyche, forever identified and called out as those two people who couldn’t work out their conflict? We don’t know why they were at odds or what it was about, but their unresolved conflict, small as it likely was in the scheme of things, is forever a conflict of biblical proportions. Why? Because it was becoming a hindrance to the mission of this first little church in all of Europe. If awakening rides on the rails of friendship, then a broken friendship can derail the whole train. 

And that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s the small things. It is the unaddressed slight, the unspoken hurt, the passive-aggressive offense, and the untended hurt that leads to an unmended relationship. 

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 

Remember Paul’s urgent exhortation to the little church in Ephesus: “Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). 

This is the whole reason Paul wrote this letter to the Romans—to try and rehabilitate their relationships which were threatening to derail the awakening afoot in Rome. Could it be that the broken relationships in my life are creating a barrier to awakening in my community? 

Have you ever considered that the broken, unhealed, and untended relationships in your life could do so much damage? Is it worth it to let them persist? This is not a word of condemnation, rather, it is a word of great hope. What if it could be that simple? (Note, I didn’t say easy.) What if we began to mend the broken relationships in our communities? It would definitely be a firstfruits of awakening in our midst.



Abba Father! We knew our relationships mattered to you, but we never really knew how much was riding on them. We are the body of Christ. Forgive us for thinking of it as a mere metaphor. We are actually part of each other so is it any wonder when our bonds with each other are broken the whole body suffers? Holy Spirit, awaken us to the gravity of this reality, not in condemnation, but with fresh hope—that our relationships mended and ever mending could lead to awakening in others; not to mention renewed love and joy in our own lives. We are willing. I am willing. Show me the next small step. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.