We all want that perfect best friend. You know, the one we can call after work to talk about how our boss is driving us crazy. Or laugh about how we knocked over an entire display of canned soup at the grocery store.
Or cry over how someone we love hurt our feelings.
We all desire good friendships. After all, God created us to connect with others.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17 NIV
When iron is rubbed against iron, each piece sharpens the other. In a similar way, friends can help one another grow in our faith.
3 Features of a Godly Friendship
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I believe these three things are needed for a strong Biblical friendship:
1. Sharing the same worldview
It is important that the foundation of your inner circle of friends be built on God. If we are going to be close to someone, it’s important to share the same worldview. This means you both see life through a Biblical lens.
For the Christian, daily life revolves around God. We try to pattern our lives in obedience to the Bible’s commands. We strive for our character to reflect Christ.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.”Proverbs 13:20 NKJV
Non-Christians have a completely different worldview.
They may want to be a good person and a positive part of the world, but they can slowly and subtly influence you. Their life goals may have value but a non-Christian can’t be aligned with God.
Kathy was a co-worker of mine years ago. She was a nice person who tried to be a good person but was a non-believer.
We had neighboring cubicles. We enjoyed talking about all kinds of subjects throughout the day. While she didn’t try to encourage me to go against my convictions, we did not share the same interests.
She enjoyed partying on the weekends. I had no desire to join her. I kept our friendship at a very casual level. Those were activities that would lead me down the wrong path.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”Ephesians 5:11 NKJV
God clearly tells us we are to be set apart from the world. Having a non-Christian friend who has a great influence in your life is an invitation for trouble.
2. Be supportive and encouraging
We all look for a friend who will be supportive and encourage us in our endeavors.
“Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.”1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB
Jane is my dear friend whose spiritual gift is encouragement. I was going through a particularly difficult time when my husband had pneumonia and I was struggling physically to take care of both of us. She left a message on my phone that brought me to tears.
First, she offered to go to the grocery store if we needed anything. Then she reminded me God was with us, even in these hard times. She pointed out that even though God seemed far away, He was right there working for our good.
She finished the message by promising to continue praying for our family. I saved the message on my phone and still listen to it every now and then for encouragement.
True friends show up to the championship game to cheer on your teenager who might not even play.
They sit through a boring speech they care nothing about just because you are the speaker.
They organize a meal train following your surgery.
In friendship, both friends need encouragement. One may go through a hard season where they need a lot of support.
There will be many times in the future to repay the kindness to the other person when they have a difficult season of their own.
3. Being a good listener
Godly friends are genuinely interested in our emotions, interests, and all aspects of our lives. They care about what you are feeling in your heart.
“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”Proverbs 17:17 NKJV
Part of loving your friend is being a good listener.
You know you have hit the jackpot when someone gives you their full attention. They do this by making eye contact and not being distracted by their phones or surroundings.
They ask appropriate questions to help them understand the situation and offer helpful comments.
Ellen is one of those friends to me. Even if she called to update me on her life, she always asks “How are you?” before she ends the phone call. I know that she isn’t just asking to be polite, I know that she truly cares.
There’s nothing worse than having listened to thirty minutes of someone’s problems and then they say goodbye without ever asking about you.
We can’t forget about the many more qualities important to a godly friendship such as being trustworthy, having integrity, being kind, truthful, generous, and forgiving.
Friendships between Christians share the deepest bond because they are both a part of the family of God.
We do not get a choice in picking our family members but we have all the say in who we choose our friends. Make good choices.
Choose the ones who will help you grow in the Lord and encourage you to reflect God’s love to others. Pick those who will encourage you to live a life honoring and pleasing to God.
Friendship is one of God’s gifts to us. All relationships take work but they are a blessing to be cherished. Don’t take them for granted, but treasure them.