Recently, I had the opportunity to preach at my church on the Christian view of friendship, and in particular what the book of Proverbs has to say about it. Below, you can find the recording of my sermon (Or you can watch the livestream here. It begins at 40:00.)
I will also include the script I was working from below if you would like to read it instead of listening to my sermon. If you are interested in books on friendship, I’ve included those resources at the end of this blog post. If you decide that you’d like to buy one of those books and would like to help support my blog, make sure to click on the links at the end. Part of the proceeds will go to me.
Today, we will be talking about what Scripture and particularly Proverbs has to say about the subject of friendship. Before I get started, I want to recommend resources in case today’s sermon inspires you to want to read more about friendship
(I’ve included other resources at the end of the blog post.)
I’m excited to talk about friendship because, as a culture, friendship isn’t really something we deal with as a topic of discussion very often. I haven’t been around many conversations that ask questions like: What is a friend? What is friendship? What does it mean to be a good friend and for someone to be a good friend to you?
An English publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend, and among the thousands of answers received were the following:
- “One who multiplies joys, divides grief.”
- “One who understands our silence.”
- “A watch which beats true for all time and never runs down.”
- But here is the definition that won the prize:
- “A friend—the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
That last definition makes me reflect on what the past year has been like. Due to COVID and our political climate, we have had a lot of people going out, but few, if any, coming in. And friendship, more than any other kind of relationship, has suffered the most because the majority of people don’t live with those whom they would label as ‘friends.’
As we move forward in these uncertain times, it is now, more than ever, that we need to hear what the Bible has to say about friendship.
I want to begin by starting with the Bible’s principles and characteristics of friendship with other people. Then, we will move on to discussing what the Bible has to say about friendship with God and with Jesus.
Principles of Friendship with Man
#1 – Friendship is Necessary
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)
Our modern culture often portrays romance and sexuality as the highest forms of love and as necessary ingredients in order to have a fulfilled and happy life. However, ancient cultures like the Greeks and Romans and even the Bible often portray friendship as the highest form of love and necessary to live well. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Scripture says
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Of course, all of this is an outgrowth of what we are told back in Genesis 2:18, that, “It is not good for man to be alone.“
Imagine a world without friendship. Imagine that every relationship you had consisted of either family, coworkers, neighbors, etc., but, no friends. And imagine that, within each of those relationships, the element of friendship disappeared.
Without friendship, marriage can still have godly qualities like sacrificial love, physical intimacy, duty and fidelity, keeping house, raising kids, etc. but without friendship, you lose a lot of the joy and pleasure you get from simply being around your spouse. Similarly with siblings. Normally, you grow up in the same home, have the same parents, have a shared set of experiences as children, and a duty to care for one another should something happen. But these factors by themselves can produce both siblings who are best friends as well as siblings who are very distant or even enemies.
Think about how friendship fits into other relationships like coworkers or neighbors. Friendship is not intrinsically necessary for any of these relationships to be established, but when you think about it, friendship is actually a lot of the oil which makes these relationships run smoothly and makes them enjoyable to experience. Because, although friendship is its own type of relationship that you can engage in, It can infiltrate into virtually any other relationship as well. So, we can see that friendship is necessary to our lives if we are to enjoy it in the way God wants us to.
But what about pure friends—those people who you aren’t related to, don’t work with, or aren’t obligated to see on a day-to-day basis? What is the basis of these relationships? In part, it comes down to choice. Unlike family (You don’t choose which family you are born into), friends are people whom you chose to associate with because you enjoy doing some of the same activities, because you enjoy being around them, or just because you enjoy who God has made them to be. These kinds of friends are also necessary to the Christian life. These are the people that you choose to become close with, that you choose to confess your sins to, and ultimately who can hold you accountable to your calling in Christ.
And this leads me to my second principle of friendship…
#2 – Choose Your Friends Wisely
To the youth, I especially want to emphasize this point. Choosing good friends is really important for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because…
A. Friends Influence You.
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Friends are formative on our character and who we become as people. This is especially true when we are younger because our friends are the people that we spend more time with and form deeper bonds with. Because of the relationship that you build, good friends (especially those who strive to be more like Christ) will influence you similarly to be like them and thus more like Christ.
Bad friends can have the opposite effect. Bad friends can pressure you to go to that party that you know you shouldn’t go to. Bad friends can pressure us to gossip or engage in locker room talk. Bad friends will ask you to let them cheat off your homework.
Friends influence who you become.
The second reason of why we need to be wise in choosing our friends…
B. Bad Friends Can Lead You to Harm
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
Notice how it doesn’t say that the companion of fools will become foolish—even though I think that is true—but it says the companion of fools will suffer harm. Bad friends can also be dangerous. Bad friends can lead you into things like abusing substances like drugs or alcohol or other activities that might put your life or wellbeing at risk.
Bad friends can also betray you or hurt you when you are vulnerable. Proverbs 25:19 says
Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips. (Proverbs 25:19)
The character of our friends matters a great deal.
Now, some people might draw the false conclusion from this that because we need to choose our friends wisely, therefore we shouldn’t be friends with anyone who isn’t a Christian. Quite the opposite. Jesus himself was said to have been a friend of sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34-35). God calls us to be in the world (which will include making friends in this world), but not to be of the world. In Luke 16, we are told in the parable of the dishonest manager to…
… make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9)
Being in the world will involve becoming friends with non-Christians, if for no other reason so that you can share the greatest news that there is—the gospel! But even then, since everyone (Christian or not) bears the image of God, there is still goodness in the relationship that is formed and in the enjoyment of another person’s company. Scripture just cautions us to use wisdom in choosing our friends and whom you spend your time with and open up to.
Alongside this, Proverbs also tells us
#3. Beware of False Friends
There’s a couple kinds of false friends that Proverbs discusses. The first one is a person that is only friends with you because of what you offer them. Proverbs 19:6 says,
Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. (Proverbs 19:6)
The Greek philosopher Aristotle called relationships like these friendships of utility. You both offer something useful to each other, but as soon as that stops being true, then the friendship dies. And while we can form relationships like this (such as in business), that isn’t really what the Bible has in mind when it thinks about true friendship.
We also see in Proverbs 19, verses 4 & 7 a different kind of false friend. It reads
Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend. (Proverbs 19:4)
All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them. (Proverbs 19:7)
The term for what is being described here is called a fairweather friend. That’s someone who is there for you when times are good (i.e., when the weather is fair) or when they get something out of the relationship, but as soon as times get tough, they are nowhere to be found.
In contrast, the Bible describes true friendship as constant. Proverbs 17:17 tells us that “a friend loves at all times.” Likewise, it says in Proverbs 27:10, “Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,“
True friends will be there for you when our circumstances are challenging, like when we are struggling with our marriage, when we are doubting our faith, when a sudden health issue is discovered, when we are going through financial trouble, or when a family member passes away.
One question raised by Vaughn Roberts in his book True Friendship that I think is worth reflecting on here is whether your schedule is structured in such a way that if a friend needed some of your time, could you be there for them, even just to say a quick prayer? Or is your schedule so jam-packed that it prevents you from loving your friends well in this way.
So, now that we’ve covered these first few principles of friendship, I want to move on to addressing specific qualities that we should look for in friendship, especially in how we are to be a friend to others.
#4 The Characteristics of Friendship
There are 5 Characteristics of Friendship that I want to highlight.
A. The Defining Characteristic of Friendship is Loyalty/Faithfulness
Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)
More than any other theme which Scripture talks about in connection with friendship is the quality of loyalty. When we think of loyalty, we think of someone who’s got your back, someone who is there for you when you need it, someone who is for you and for your good.
When used in connection with friendship, the world loyalty comes from the word hesed (חֶ֫סֶד), the word we often hear in connection in describing God’s generous, loyal, covenantal, love and kindness towards us. For example, in Job 6:14, he says, “He who withholds kindness (hesed) from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.“
But I also want us to think a little more deeply about what it means to be loyal to your friends. In Scripture, we see that loyalty often comes at great sacrifice to the person showing loyalty.
For example, with David and Jonathan (who are held up as one of the Bible’s primary examples of friendship), we see that Jonathan gives his love and loyalty to David despite his own father Saul being king and constantly seeking to kill David. Talk about awkward! “Hey David, my dad’s trying to kill you—again. Sorry about that.” Nevertheless, because of their strong loyalty to one another, they had one of the deepest friendships.
Another example is what we see between Ruth and Naomi. When the safe and easier thing would have been for Ruth to return to her father’s house after her husband passed away, she insisted on staying by Naomi’s side (Ruth 1:16-17). “Where you go, I will go, and where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God my God.“
That’s the kind of love and loyalty that Scripture calls us towards in regard to our friends. It may not look exactly the same way, but the principle is there that loyalty often comes at great cost.
B. Loyalty in friendship also consist of being trustworthy.
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. (Proverbs 11:13)
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. (Proverbs 16:28)
Gossip kills friendships. In the church, we can have the tendency to overshare other’s secrets under the guise of sharing prayer requests or trying to do something we think is for their own good, but this is usually not the case. Gossip can even occur unintentionally. Someone confides in an elder, who then confides in his wife, who then confides in her best friend, who then confides in her spouse, who then confides with his best friend, etc. and before you know it, the circle has widened much further than the original friend intended, but all the while everyone thought they were only sharing with people who were trustworthy. And while there are a couple exceptions (like if someone poses a danger to themselves), the ability to keep confidence is a treasure to have in friendship.
C. Likewise, trust, loyalty, and friendship are built through our Honesty.
Sometimes, honesty is one of the most difficult parts of friendship. It’s easy to have superficial friendships where all you do is have fun together. Of course, having a good time is a wonderful part of friendship, but if that is all your friendship consists of, you will probably find your relationships to be somewhat shallow.
Real friendship requires honesty and to be truly known by our friends. This includes being able to open up about a difficulty in your life, or a weakness that you have, or a temptation that you are battling, and to reveal your hopes and dreams and fears. But such things can feel threatening. Will I truly be accepted if this fact is known about me? I’ve certainly dealt with that fear plenty of times in my life, but Scripture tells us that through honesty and openness, we can have genuine fellowship.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
At the same time, honesty isn’t just about opening up about yourself. Sometimes, the more difficult part of being honest and loyal to your friend means telling them something they don’t want to hear, whether that is confronting them about a sin in their life, correcting a wrong-headed idea, giving them a reality check, or even in just giving advice.
But to tell someone how you truly feel or think can feel like one of the riskiest things you can do in any relationship, especially when you are afraid that what you might say could offend the person or threaten the relationship in some way. But Proverbs 27:5-6 says,
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6)
This type of honesty is something that is especially challenging for me. As someone who hates confrontation and generally feels insecure in my relationships, telling a friend something they don’t want to hear is difficult.
A good friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook that didn’t seem honoring to his Christian witness. I wanted to say something but was hesitant because I didn’t want him to get mad at me, but I messaged him privately saying, “Hey I don’t think this reflects well on your Christian witness.” He was a little defensive about it at first, but he later called me to apologize and we were able to talk about it and work things out. As a result of that, I actually feel much closer to this friend and have a greater degree of respect and trust for this individual. By virtue of the fact that I was able to muster enough courage to confront my friend, we actually became better friends.
Of course, all of these are to be done with gentleness and respect as Scripture demands, but confrontation is just as crucial as confession to genuine friendship.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (Proverbs 27:9)
The sweetness of friendship comes when we can be fully open and transparent with one another. When we know that we can be seen and be known by another, then we can experience the true love and fellowship that God intends for us.
D. Friendship is Intimate
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
True friendship is not measured in the quantity of friends that you have but in their quality. In the Bible, a close friend is described as someone “who is as your own soul.” (Deut. 13:6) In David and Jonathan’s relationship, after the defeat of Goliath, it is said that
…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1)
Have you ever had a friend that you just immediately clicked with and quickly became close with? I imagine that’s what happened when Jonathan, the prince, saw David, the shepherd, after he killed Goliath. He not only saw a fellow warrior. He saw a warrior who had a zeal to fight and defend the honor of YHWH, of God, and who had incredible faith that God would deliver their enemies into their hands. That is what provided the solid foundation to their friendship and what caused Jonathan’s soul to be knit together with David’s.
But what does intimacy look like practically? Well, let’s look at what Scripture records.
The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. (Proverbs 20:5)
Intimacy can look like knowing and understanding each other deeply. Before your friend even says something, you know what they are thinking, and when they are wrestling with something, you can help them understand what they are experiencing and may not even realize themselves.
Of course, while intimacy can be a result of knowing and understanding, it can take other forms in friendship as well. Let’s look at David and Jonathan again. In 1 Samuel 20, Saul is plotting to kill David, and after Jonathan conveys the plot to David at great risk to himself, Scripture records that
… David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. (1 Samuel 20:41)
You wonder why the author included this detail. To the plot of the story, it seems like an unnecessary detail, almost like when John notes that “the one disciple ran faster than the other.” But this detail serves to show the depth of the bond and intimacy that they had and how they expressed it with one another physically.
When Jonathan died in battle, David lamented for his friend this way:
How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain on your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women. (2 Samuel 1:25-26)
What a statement to make, especially in light of modern culture, which relegates friendship to a second or third-tier relationship and reserves the greatest intimacy for sexual relationships. Because of this, some authors will say that David and Jonathan did have a homosexual relationship, but such an interpretation completely misunderstands the depth of intimacy that the Bible allows for in friendship.
It’s also for this reason that we can have trouble with intimacy in our friendships—especially men. If we are dealing with emotional intimacy, we can write that of as “women’s territory.” And if we are talking about physical intimacy, we’re comfortable slapping a teammate’s butt in football, but as soon as a friend is in pain, it’s a challenge for some men to put their arm around them or let them cry on their shoulder or give them a hug for fear of being called homosexual.
Obviously, I’m not saying that intimacy always has to look a particular way, but my point is that we shouldn’t let fear be a deterrent to intimacy like it often is.
Finally, the last quality of friendship I’ll discuss is forgiveness.
E. Friendship is Forgiving
Because of the deep intimacy that can occur in a friendship, these are the people who can also hurt us the most. David laments in Psalm 55
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. (Psalms 55:20-21)
When a breach in trust like that occurs, a strong resentment can develop. Proverbs 18:19 says, “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city (Proverbs 18:19).”
But genuine friendship is forgiving. On a practical level, Proverbs tells us that a part of forgiveness is about letting bygones be bygones and not digging up the past.
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)
Friend or not, for a Christian, forgiveness is not optional. It’s central to the gospel. Jesus told his disciples, “If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15)“
And God’s heart is not only for forgiveness but, where possible, reconciliation. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)
We must also acknowledge, though, that in some cases, friends can break our trust to such an extent that maintaining a friendship with a person is not wise or that complete reconciliation is not possible. In such cases, even if the friendship does not continue, forgiveness is still not optional. And the gospel shows us that God’s heart is to pursue reconciliation when possible.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. (Proverbs 10:12).
So, before I move on, let summarize:
- Friendship is Necessary
- Choose Your Friends Wisely
- Beware of False Friends
- Characteristics of Friendship which Scripture highlights
Of course, as detailed as this is, this isn’t exhaustive, not by a longshot.
But having now discussed what friendship looks like between people, this should lead to ask the question: Where does God fit into the picture of friendship?
Friendship with God
Friendship is ultimately founded within the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existing in perfect relational unity. And this is because all loves, friendship included, can be traced back to God, for whom love is an essential attribute. As John wrote, God is love (1 John 4:16).
In addition to that, God, even in his holiness and transcendence, is said in Scripture to enter into friendship with man. 3 times in Scripture, Abraham is called “Friend of God.” (2 Chronicles 20:5-7, Isaiah 41:8-10, James 2:20-24). James 2:23 says,
…and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. (James 2:23)
Likewise, with Moses, Exodus 33:11 tells us
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend… (Exodus 33:11)
Both Moses and Abraham had a friendship with God. So, how are we, as people, able to be in a friendship with the Most High God?
First, we must realize that friendship with God is initiated by God. This is because friendship with God is contingent on being in a covenantal relationship with God. In Psalm 25:14, we read that…
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. (Psalms 25:14)
In that verse we see that God is the one initiating: “He makes known to them his covenant.” This is the pattern throughout Scripture. God initiates and calls us into covenant relationship with him. We see that with Abraham, Moses, the nation of Israel, and ultimately with the Church today through Jesus.
But there’s another side to friendship with God. We see it in the first half of that verse: “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him.” In the totality of God’s friendship with us—again he is the one who initiates, establishes, and maintains friendship with us. But from our perspective, in order to experience the fullness of God’s friendship and intimacy, it will require us to fear him and obey him. Jesus himself told his disciples, You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:14)
So, we might ask ourselves, “Why haven’t I experienced friendship with God?” One answer could be: Maybe you have, but you just haven’t called it friendship. If you have experienced relationality with God and have been a recipient of God’s covenantal love (which all of us have), then you have experienced or have been a recipient of his friendship. Of course, there could be other reasons, but one other possibility that Scripture mentions is that maybe there’s unacknowledged or unrepentant sin in your life.
Sin is the very antithesis of friendship with God. In James 4:4, it reads,
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Even though God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, God is not friends with the world. And to enter into friendship with God is to renounce our friendship with the world and all its desires.
With all this being said, let us look to the one who perfectly modelled friendship on earth and has made possible friendship with God—Jesus Christ.
Friendship with Jesus
Jesus, as the God-man, was able to perfectly exemplify every aspect of friendship. As the second person of the Trinity, he has always had perfect friendship with the Father and Holy Spirit. But when he came in the flesh as a human, he was also able to embody what friendship between people should look like.
In the gospels, we can see that Jesus was close friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. In John 11, we read that Jesus “loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5) and that after Lazarus had died, he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” (John 11:11). Jesus was such close friends with them, that after Lazarus had died, even knowing that he was going to raise him back to life, he still was deeply moved at the grief of his sisters and wept for his death (John 11:33-35).
But we also see Jesus have close friendships with his disciples, especially John, the one self-described as the “beloved disciple,” and the one who reclined on Jesus at dinner (John 13:23). If you have your Bibles handy, turn to John 15:12-15
In his final hours before he was arrested, Jesus told his disciples in John 15:12-15
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15)
Yet again, we see that, contrary to our culture, what is held up as the greatest form of love is not sex or romance but to lay down one’s life for a friend. And this isn’t said to the denigration of sex or romance—both of which are good—but since our culture idolizes those things as the pinnacle of relational fulfillment, this offers a helpful corrective to our thinking and how we should prioritize and think about our friendships.
“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Jesus, here, is speaking as God and emphasizing the importance of obedience in friendship with God. In friendship between equals, you can’t demand obedience, but in friendship with God, obedience is a right thing for God to ask for.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” This is probably one of the greatest statements in Scripture on friendship because it shows the degree of intimacy and openness that Jesus ascribes to friendship. He made known to his friends all that he heard from his Father. This allowed the disciples not only to have friendship and intimacy with Christ but also, through revelation, have intimacy and friendship with the Father.
In this, we see a picture of the gospel. Through Christ and through our friendship with him, we gain friendship with the rest of the Godhead. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has become the mediator of the new covenant, through which God has initiated and established his friendship with his people and we can approach the throne of grace. And this is also evidenced by the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us as a sign of his friendship and as a guarantee of our inheritance. It is through the gospel that we see God’s faithfulness & loyalty, his trustworthiness, his honesty and truthfulness, his intimacy, and ultimately his forgiveness.
And because of the friendship that we have through Christ with God, this also opens a door to friendship with everyone who is a part of that same covenant—the Church. Professor Carl Bridges says, “If one can be a friend of God or of God’s Son, this friendship can extend as well to others who are also friends of God. Christian friendship finds its basis in the friendship between each believer and God.”
Christian friendship, or spiritual friendship as it’s sometimes called, is a gift. Because we share the most fundamental aspect of our lives in common, this creates ample opportunity for friendship where none would otherwise exist. That’s the beauty of the church. I have met and become friends with so many people in the church who I would have never met otherwise. And I have developed friendships with people with whom I have relatively little else in common, but because we have Christ in common, that opens up so many doors for relationship. Of course, having other things in common (like hobbies) only enriches and deepens the intimacy that you can have with one another, but such things are no substitute for having Christ in common.
In closing, I do want to offer one word of caution that I have had to learn the hard way this past year. As much as the Bible points us towards the richness and the depth that friendship with other people offers us, friendship with others is no substitute for friendship with God. Through the challenges of the past year, God revealed to me the hard way (namely through conflict in friendships and through isolation) that I had made an idol out of my friends and were wanting them to meet needs that only God could. As much as God made human relationships to satisfy our relational longings, none of them can take the place of relational intimacy with God himself. This is true of friendship, this is true of marriage, this is true of any relationship. No matter how much we might want them to, they cannot satisfy the deepest longings of our heart that only God is meant to fulfill.
…my charge to you today is to seek and to build better friendship with God and better friendships with one another. A better friendship with God will help you to be a better friend to others, and having better friendships will help you draw closer to God. These friends can pray with you, speak truth into your life, bear your burdens, and rejoice when you rejoice. Through Christ, friendship with God and friendship with others work in tandem.
If your friendships with others have been languishing, renew them. If your friendships have been broken, pray for how God might bring healing to them. And if you have great friendships, then rejoice all the more and don’t take them for granted. Friendship takes time and effort, but the rewards of good friendship will make the cost seem like nothing.
If you desire a deeper friendship with God, we have a prayer team after service that would love to talk to you more about that.