Closer Than a Sister

Christina Fox, in her newest book, Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ helps Friendships to Flourish, discusses the importance of our friendships with other believers.

Christina explains that this is what sisterhood is all about. It’s about meeting physical needs. It’s about mourning together and rejoicing together. It’s about exhorting and encouraging each other, spurring each other on in the race. And it’s about not pretending we have it all together: How do we pretend? We put on our very best each Sunday morning and respond to each greeting of “How are you?” with a smile, a nod, and an “I am well. How are you?” in return. When in reality, we had one of the worst weeks of our lives. We pretend that life is going smoothly when it is not. We pretend that we have it all together when we don’t. We pretend that we have no struggles, no temptations, and no sorrows. …


Growing up, I always wanted a sister. It’s not that I didn’t love my brother. I did, and I do. I wouldn’t trade my brother for the world. I didn’t want a sister instead of a brother but in addition to my brother. I’d watch my mom with her sisters and wish I had a relationship like that. Sisterhood is special, and the sisterhood of believing women is even more special.

Christina Fox, in her newest book, Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ helps Friendships to Flourish, discusses the importance of our friendships with other believers. From the beginning, we were created to live in community with others. It’s not good for man or woman to be alone. And that statement goes beyond marriage. Whether or not we are single, married, widowed, or divorced, we need each other. We need friends.

But we also need something more than friendship. Christina points out that the most common analogy used in the New Testament to describe the relationship of believers is one of family. We are brothers and sisters united together in Christ. (34) We are the body, and we need each other.

While we should all be familiar with these concepts, it is easy to forget that we have a real need for relationships with people who know us, in real life. Christina explains that it is tempting for us to look to online relationships to fill our needs. She writes:

The truth is, engaging with people face to face and living life together is a fading reality in our society today. In the past, community was already made for us and we just slipped right in and became a part of it. But today things are different. More people work at home and in isolation from others. We engage with our friends through an intermediary: a phone, device, or a computer. We don’t know how to relate to people like we once did. We live life at a top speed and think that a quick text is a realistic substitute for face to face interaction. In this way, social media can be a challenge to Christian community. (169)

Instead of relationships of carefully crafted social media images of ourselves, we need actual people who know us as we really are and whom we know as well. These are people who can share life together with us. As Christina puts it:

Sharing a common life together is not about doing activities but about sharing life. Spiritual Life. It is about working together to bring about God’s Kingdom purposes. It is about serving together, helping each other through trials, lifting each other up when we fall, praying for one another, urging one another on in the faith. And ultimately, it is reflecting Christ in our love for one another, imaging Him to the fallen world around us. (55)

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