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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 (51)

I have had friendships over the years and almost all of them have been through the church or church organizations that have mentored me and challenged me to grow in my faith and to step out into unknown territory. Which let me see what God could do if I moved out of my comfort zone. I thank God for those women, many of whom have gone on to be with the Lord. They were such a wonderful example for me of God’s faithfulness.

What I notice is when I think back there seems to be a pattern to my thinking. When I am around a potential fiend or one I want to be. I am thinking and hurting that I am really not important to them and never will be. When did that all start?.In the fourth grade. I pray to God help me heal from this belief.

I would say good friendships have been a blessing and are a gratitude I give to God. The bad friendships have also been a blessing in disguise as they taught me to look at the types of friends I wanted to have in my life and those I didn’t but also how to BE the kind of friend people would want.

Friendships have taught me so many lessons in love, forgiveness and connection. I am in a season where God is bringing me new friends, and they too share my faith and love of God and Jesus. God pruned many friends out of my life over the past ten years. A few friendships just faded out and a few were only for a season. God wanted me to look at my life and my values and I trusted Him in a season where I literally had no circle of girlfriends. Being in a new church has opened up so many opportunities to make new friends, I am excited about this!

Sometimes it is hard to let go or let a change happen in a friendship. It’s almost like a divorce. Eventually, I accept that it was a season. God puts new friends In your life in unexpected ways and He stretches us. One relationship wasn’t mended for 6 months. Mostly, friends have been there over and over for me through my spouse’s death and sickness. So thankful.

My friendships have sustained me in hard times and have increased my joy in the good times. Having friends of faith is a blessing from the Lord! They are His gifts to me and I am grateful for all the wonderful Christian women He has placed in my life.

i have issues with trust from broken relationships and friendships in the past. however, through struggle
and heartbreak, they have taught me that God is the only One who will never let me down. Lord, i pray that You take away any friendship that leads me away and not closer to You.

They’ve helped me to learn forgiveness and kindness. My best friend Genesis has truly been there for me and had helped me to see God’s hand in the tough parts of life. She has encouraged me in my walk and made me stronger in my faith.

They’ve helped me to learn forgiveness and kindness. My best friend Genesis has truly been there for me and had helped me to see God’s hand in the tough parts of life. She has encouraged me in my walk and made me stronger.

I have had "friends" who have driven me to Christ because I don’t know what went wrong. Maybe I said the wrong thing or caught her on a bad day. Maybe she is insecure and so she pushes others away to see if anyone will pursue in response. I don’t know, but that season was a deep, bitter season of struggle to see God’s goodness.

But my "unlikely" friends are my "best" friends. Actually, they are God’s best for me in this season. They have stood beside me through seasons of trial. They have continued to pursue friendship even when I moved 2 hours or entire states away. They write letters and send lengthy texts. They pray for me and support me in deep, intimate ways. I value these friendships most.

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