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What are friends for?

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12

watch session one: a theology of friendship

everybody needs a friend

We meet them in sandboxes and cafeterias, youth groups and college dorm rooms, cubicles and church pews.

We grow them through scuffles and sustain them no matter the fight.

Some last for a season and some, a lifetime.

Some of us never had a real one.

We’ve been hurt and we’ve been carried; bruised and built up; angered and forgiven; lost then found.

We stumbled over the same blocks and then chose to keep bobbing and weaving along this road together.

Friends.

This study is an examination, a celebration, and an exhortation to us, to cultivate rich friendships as God intended. Let’s begin at the beginning.

friendship after the fall

As human beings made in the image of God—who Himself exists in Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we reflect him as we seek out relationships with other image-bearers. However, what was once perfectly natural has been corrupted. Sin has perverted our relationships. We hurt each other, lie to each other, and compare ourselves to one other because of the destructive nature sin brings to every relationship.

Outside of Eden, we imperfect and sinful people now must cultivate friendships from the rocky soil of a fallen world. Thankfully, we believers have an added mission—the ministry of reconciliation—and an abundant super-power, the Holy Spirit, which we have been given through our bonds of fellowship in Christ. The Spirit empowers us to overcome our flesh, love our neighbors, and make the necessary sacrifices to sustain our deep friendships. God’s love for us is all about redemption and reconciliation—what a gift that the Father would send the Son to reconcile us back to himself, and that we would be gifted with the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit! God’s love for us manifests itself in his presence. God is with us, and we are never alone. We reflect his imminence and care when we lovingly cultivate true friendship.

why does friendship matter?

Before he was arrested and sentenced to be crucified, Jesus said to his disciples, “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” (John 15:12–14). Believers are friends of Christ! It is for the sake of this friendship that Christ died. It is because of our belief in Christ that we follow his commandment to love one another.

Godly friendships declare the love of Christ. Friends remind us that we are not alone. Friendships help us along the journey of life. Friends encourage us when we are down. Friends help us when we labor. Friends wage war against the enemy alongside us—and when we’re at our weakest, they defend us.

Friends help us to keep going when the going gets rough.

Our friendships should matter deeply to us because they matter deeply to God.

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Daily Question

How have friendships (good and bad) impacted your life and your walk with the Lord?

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Comments (10)

I have trouble making lasting friendships. I often use the excuse that life just gets in the way. Oftentimes it is me who gets in my head about not being good enough or my life not measuring up. The comparison trap I think it is called.

We lived for thirty years in our home in Maryland. This is the longest I have ever lived any where and wher I built deep friendships. We had our babies together, grew in Christ together, homeschooled and learned so much thru joy and grief. One friend I met working at the pregnancyogether. We worked together for ten years. We learned to trust each other. She was someone I could be raw and honest with. we could laugh together as we solved the "worlds problems" and ache and pray together as we shared our family’s lives. We still keep in touch but I sure miss her.

It is through my most genuine friendships that I’ve had the opportunity to grow in my faith. My best friends are responsible for leading me to Jesus – one helped me to Baptism when I was 20, and the other has helped me to understand the Bible and it’s importance.

My friends’ relationship with Jesus (or lack thereof) steers the direction of our conversations and as a result, our inner thoughts. As Christians we rely on God to inspire the desires of our hearts. Non-believing friends are unwittingly inspired by Satan. Satan’s inspirations do not necessarily always appear evil. My non-believing friends are excited about their next vacation or frustrated about work, and these emotions are all-consuming. My Christian friends may have the same feelings, but they’re secondary to the hope that God gives us. As a result, the world is just a happier place when I’m in it with friends who are walking with the Lord.

I have been blessed with some really amazing friends in my lifetime, but it isn’t until recently that I have found friends through my relationship with Christ. I am really enjoying this new chapter of finding friend that love Jesus and creating friendships with him at the center.

Lord Jesus, you love at all times, help me to do the same. I repent for neglecting you. Fill me with a love for you, your word and your ways in my own relationships. Give me a heart that fears and seeks you. Cause me to rest in your complete work yet work out my salvation in fear and trembling. I do not want to be lax when you have been working. Help me to see what you are doing and why so I might be whole hearted after your ways.

I have to say I have some of the best friends. We met through church and our lives are all very different but they have been with me and I with them through so much. Loss of friends, boyfriends, babies, spouses, parents. Getting married, having children, not having children, divorces, children getting married. They are truly special to me and while anymore we only really get to see each other once a year or at a funeral or wedding, we still love and care for each other as if we were sisters and we all three have sisters that we are close to so it is good that we understand that love and can share it with each other as friends as well.

Friends have impacted me in a way that enriched me. God and bad relationships steer me into becoming the type of fried. I desire To be and I am Getting better at attracting better friendships.

For the most part 3 women in my nearly 4 years of being a believer. Only 1 has spanned nearly 2 decades. These relationships have taught me, supported me, cried with me and rejoiced in victories with me. I too have had opportunity to carry these women to Jesus when life had them beat down.

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