As we reached the summit of the Mirador, climbing it faster than normal as a bunch of older men we were unwilling to show weakness and take a break. We awoke at 6 AM and a group from Peru, Germany, Austria, and the United States climbed up the mountain to celebrate our friend John’s birthday who happens to be from the Netherlands. I remembered at the summit about a quote I heard (I think from Tim Keller) that we have more in common with our brother’s and sisters in Christ than we do with our own countrymen. I know this is true. More from Tim Keller in a lecture titled Spiritual Friendship
the very essence of friendship is not to look at each other, but to look at something in common. What makes you a friend is not that you’re kneeling before each other saying, “Don’t you want to be in a relationship with me?” What makes friends friends is that you’re both kneeling before something else. The essence of friendship is to say not, “Do you love me?” but “Do you love the same truth?” What makes friendship happen is not that you’re looking at each other and saying, “How’s our relationship?” but you’re looking at something that has captured your heart. So even the pagans understood friends cannot be made out of nothing. There has to be some common passion, some common adoration. See, with Christianity, we have an incredible possibility. Twice, Paul kneels and prays. Right there you have a physical picture of spiritual friendship. If you’re both kneeling before the same God, if you’re both adoring the same God, that pulls you together in astounding ways. Over and over, the Bible says the most formative possible experience you can have is an experience of the grace of Jesus Christ. When that comes in (this is what’s so great), there’s a friendship bond that is exerted. I even use the word automatic, though I’m going to show you you have to work with it. It says in Ephesians 4:3, “Maintain the spirit of unity in the bond of peace.” It doesn’t say, “Attain the spirit of unity in the bond of peace.” Maintain. You can’t attain it. You can’t create it. You can be a steward of it, but it comes, it’s a gift, and it’s there when two people fall in love with Jesus Christ. They are becoming friends, no matter who they used to be. Do you hear me? When two people start to fall in love with Jesus Christ, they’re kneeling before him; they are becoming friends, no matter who they used to be.