Social network—that’s the new word for friends. Well, it’s not a word. It’s a target market. A status. A collection of profiles and updates. Sure, there are many benefits to having a “social network” in this day and age. But I hope we are not settling for the false security that 368 Facebook friends provide. As we are being trained to reduce our thoughts into 140 characters, or to an image, or even a 750 word article, I hope that we are not carrying this shorthand into our intimate relationships. Back when my sister, Brooke, first started dating her husband, they had a long distance relationship. One night she and I found ourselves at the I Made This, paint-your-own pottery shop. She was making a mug for Justin and wanted to paint a Bible verse they could share. But she didn’t want it to be anything too deep, as they were just getting to know one another. Just then, lo and behold, we run into my old English teacher from high school, who happened to be a Christian. She said, “I have the perfect verse: ‘I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,’ Philippians 1:3!” We thought it was a nice, sweet, light verse for her to share (and then she spelled remembrance wrong, which makes the mug even better). Now I realize how wrong we were. That is a very meaningful verse, which Brooke could now say was quite prophetic of her wonderful marriage. Paul had a pretty large network of friends. In this letter to the Philippians, he is expressing a deep joy and thankfulness for these particular friends in the faith. He is saying that this joy causes him to pray for them every time he prays! And what is his joy over? Their fellowship in the gospel! Do you have this kind of joy in your relationships? Does your life cause others to rejoice in Christ? Is Christ magnified in your relationships? Is he treasured? Do you revel in the gospel while talking to your friends? Do you spend time in prayer over your relationships? In our social networks, we equip one another well with the sites we like to visit, pictures of our last vacation, or what we are making for dinner. But this is not a good platform for building what I like to call realationships. Realationships are a treasure and they always point you to Christ. This is something built on a true foundation. They thrive on encouragement in the gospel. When a brother, a daughter, or a friend comes to you for advice, do you counsel them in the gospel or are you satisfied with their dependence on you? Realationships are a joy, but they are also a sacrifice. As we mature we begin to pay more attention to who our real friends are.  Real friends are the beautiful people who are willing to stick their neck out for you. Speaking the truth in love is probably one of the hardest parts of being a friend. Most people shirk away from confrontation, but a real friend will endure that uncomfortable experience to keep the integrity of their friendship. They will sacrifice themselves for the truth in your relationship. The truth is, Christ has begun a great work within us, and he will finish what he started. He did immeasurably more than stick his neck out for us. He gave his very life so that we can be united to him. As Christians, Jesus has called us His friends (John 15:15). Do we behave that way?