3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:3-8
When you begin sharing your life with others, good things happen. By the same token, when others share their lives with you better things happen. You begin to realize that what you struggle with is not too different than what others struggle with. Even though you may not agree with everything they’re doing (and vice versa), you can discuss it as mature adults.
Paul had the opportunity to share his life with those in Thessalonica. Can you imagine some of the stories he told? Some of them we are able to read. They exchanged stories and ideas, knowing that they were partners in ministry.
That’s what encouraging one another is all about. I’m not sure who said it, but it’s true: “The primary function of a great friend is that there is no function.”
Cultivate and nurture those friendships as much as you can.