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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 (64)

Good friendships have shown me how to love myself, despite my flaws. When friends see the good in me, it helps me to see the good in myself. They offer grace and forgiveness and allow me to be more forgiving of others. Faithful friends have strengthened my relationship with God by being good examples and showing me new ways to act out my faith – such as praying out loud, being more open about my faith in conversations, and encouraging me to be a faithful model to my children.

However, there have been times when people who called themselves Christians hurt me in deep ways and that has become a setback in my faith journey.

Most of my closest friends do not walk with the Lord. If they do walk with the Lord it is in their own quiet way. I find myself quietly walking with the Lord, not saying much to my friends about it. I do this alone. I do not want to do this alone. I want close friendships that I can walk alongside them and the Lord.

Accountability, Biblical knowledge growth, joy, hope, hands on physical support. Life without Christian friends is no life at all.

friendships have helped to strengthen my dependence on God for all things. they have made my life constantly grow and change helping me to be more christlike

As a teen and college student my friendships were not based in Christ. They led me away from God and led me toward sin. I am responsible for my actions and one of those actions was not having friends in Christ. As I have grown up I have missed my connection with the Lord and Christ and part of whtlat held me back was the people I was around. Not bad people just not a lot of people who openly walked with Christ. I have yearned for real friendships and have yearned for a closer friendship with Christ. Finding COTR, Tammy, Nancy, the women of COTR Willow and Wasilla, women’s connect has made a world of difference. It had opened up my heart and mind to a closer relationship with Jesus and other women.

In my lifetime, I have strayed away from God because I wanted to be liked by "friends" that were either not believers or simply didn’t practice their faith. I’ve typically not talked about faith with my friends; it’s been more of a forbidden topic; however, more recently my closest friend is very open about her faith as a Catholic and, in turn, it’s made me talk more about my faith as well. She share about Bible Studies and such, which encourages me to continue. Friendships made during Disciple and Sunday School are also good and very encouraging for that season.

Friendship has impacted my relationship with God in so many ways. On a positive note, it’s encouraged me to continue to deepen my relationship with and seek Jesus. I have great friends who I can pray with and get sound advice from.

Most of my friendships prior to God leading me were associates. I never let people in, I would rather have been alone than to get hurt. Now I search deep relationships, ones I can be hinest with and know they gonna love me for me and all my faults, and there are alot! I seek honest friends that tell me what I need to hear even if I dont want to hear it. I strive to let my self love them uncoditiinally and not get angry and walk away. Yes I still stumble. But God knows how.much I am trying and need and crave the love. I always denied I wanted to be love.

Honest, I do not think I ever had a friend. Yes I have been hurt in the past. I feel that I am being judged before I open my mouth. So i hear others talk, and do not join.. this is why I am doing this i need freedom, I need friends. it hard when there is none.

Good friends have inadvertently pointed out my flaws and shown me where my faith and relationship with God is lacking. They never judge me outright, I just see how they carry themselves and want to strive to be more like them. Bad friends (too many to count) have left me feeling judged and disliked. As if I was only being used for a season. My friendships reflect my relationship with Christ, fine on the surface but I never truly let my guard down. As if at any moment I will be let go, left out or unnoticed.

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