Soul Friends

 
  Anam Cara  is Gaelic for  soul friend.

Anam Cara is Gaelic for soul friend.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

What is a Soul Friend?

Proverbs 18:24 says that “a man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It is remarkable to think that one could come to ruin while surrounded by companions. What is needed is a friend—a soul friend.

A soul friend is one concerned for our wellbeing and that we not come to ruin. Our ultimate Soul Friend is Jesus Christ. He loved us and gave Himself for us. His love will not let us go. He is for us, not against us. He is with us. He understands our weaknesses. He will never leave us or forsake us.

Jesus has saved us and enfolded us into community, not just to be with fellow believers but to be for fellow believers. Being in large-group worship is essential for our spiritual growth and vitality. But we can put on our happy face and mask the struggles within. Being in small-group gatherings is beneficial for spiritual relationships. But even there we “may come to ruin,” as the proverb says, because we can struggle alone and unknown.

A soul friend, however, operates at another level, a level of care and commitment. Soul friends help one another in their walk with Jesus Christ. They “stick to” their friends in steadfast relationship for the cause of Christ. They can be counted on to be there, to be honest, to pray, to hold each other’s feet to the sanctifying fire of discipleship (Malachi 3:2–3; Luke 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:7).

How Can I Be a Soul Friend?

Commit yourself by God’s grace to pray daily for your soul friend and meet together on a regular basis. Make your scheduled meetings a priority.

When you meet share your joys and struggles, fears and failures. Be open with one another. Be real. Be honest. Be the sinners saved by grace each of you is. Pick a book to read and discuss that will help you to understand and apply the teaching of the Bible. Pray together.

A soul friend is not afraid, and is in fact invited, to respect, expect, and inspect. We respect one another, knowing it is by the grace of God that we go. We expect in one another a lived-out allegiance to Jesus Christ. We inspect through openness and mutual accountability.

The relationship you want is not just that of a friend but a soul friend, where you are deeply concerned for one another’s spiritual welfare and growth. Nor are you looking for a short-term mentoring arrangement that revolves around a curriculum, although study together is helpful.

How Do I Find a Soul Friend?

It begins with prayer. Ask God to make the connection with someone of your own gender you can relate to. You are looking for someone who is serious about a life relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord (Colossians 1:9-11; 2:6-8; 3:17). As you pray, begin to look, expecting God to lead you. Approach that person to see if he or she would like to walk together in a spiritual journey.

A soul friend can often be found in a group you are already a part of, such as home group or ministry team.  Others with a shared interest may also be a place to look.

If you would like help finding a soul friend, let me know (stan@ironworkschurch.org). At a minimum, I can pray for the Lord’s leading. Perhaps I could help you make the connection with someone you have in mind. I may know of others who are looking for such a friend.