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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 (14)

They made see God’s work through them and God helped me see the enemy’s through some! Learning to stand still whe I was hurt by a friend instead of gossiping!! He brought me through it quickly and helped me see the people around me who cared about me and that helped me up through a difficult time!

They made see God’s work through them and God helped me see the enemy’s through some! Learning to stand still whe I was hurt by a friend instead of gossiping!! He brought me through it quietly and helped me see the people around me who cared about me and that helped me up through a difficult time! My friends that hold me through good and bad have helped me see Gods work and see and hear his truth!!

I have been blessed with amazing friends that have helped me through some of the greatest trials of my life. Looking back, I can see how God always sent me just the right person for the occasion. They have cried and laughed with me. One of my best friends brought me closer to God by asking me bluntly about my relationship with Christ, and then helping me to dig deeper and find a closeness that I had never before really experienced. She blessed my life immeasurably.
I have also had friends that are no longer a part of my life. I feel that perhaps I served a purpose in their lives, but I could no longer maintain these friendships because they were destructive to my own well-being. Recognizing and acting on that was very difficult for me because I am a people pleaser and never want anyone to be angry with me. Maturity helped me to realize that I cannot please everyone all of the time and that I need to value myself enough to set healthy boundaries. As my faith grew deeper, I also became more confident in making good relationship choices.

I struggle with people pleasing and being loyal when that’s not appropriate. Good for you! Growth is awesome, but uncomfortable. Keep up the good work

Friendships are encouraging. I am encouraged by friends to persevere through something hard, to try new things, to enjoy where I am in life and to be content with myself. Hearing friends, true friends, encourage me has kept me balanced in life and gives me the sense that I can take on what is thrown at me in life.

They have guided me and walked the path of Christ with me and have lifted me up when I’ve fallen.

On tthe other hand, the most painful hurts in all of my relationships have been from those same friends.

Friendships whether they’ve been good or bad have shown me, what type of friend I want to be. I want to be the strong, loyal, loving friend that will always be there for you. Someone you can depend on no matter what, and someone you can feel safe with to confide in.

The positive and negative friendships in my life have both impacted my walk with the lord. The positive friendships have shown me how grateful and blessed I am to have the friends I have. I’m so thankful that God has blessed me with these people. The negative friendships have also sent me to the lord searching for answers. As to how and why these people are in my life. So the negative friendships have help me grow closer to the lord too. Seeking answers as well as how to deal with these friendships. Bring me comfort and peace.

I agree with you Danielle!!! Such wise insight. God turns those bad relationships into something for our good! God uses them to grow us in ways we never thought we could.

The good ones are such a blessing and you can feel Gods love for us through them. Great post!

One of the most important things is to be real, be honest and be true blue in who I am and how I respond to my friends. I found my true friends have stuck with me through good and bad times, we pick up where we left off, we have a certain kind of love for each other that is profound.

True friendships have taught me that I am loved and accepted in my successes and in my struggles. I have learned that these friendships are rooted in love. It has taught me that I can be myself and take pride in the best version of myself and how that is given to the world each day. I don’t have to hide who I am. These friendships nurture me. They celebrate my joy and they console and encourage me in times of stress and tension. True friendships help and encourage me to grow as a person. These friendships are a gift from God. I see God’s nature in these friendships.

I have learned through false friendships that everyone cannot be trusted. This has not been an easy lesson for me to comprehend. I have had to experience more than once through disappointment and hurt that there are self centered people out there in the world and to be careful what you share of yourself. I have learned that these people see kindness as a weekness and will take advantage of it whenever they can. These relationships are rooted in greed, selfishness, and hate. These false friendships have help me grow as a person as well, as painful as it was, but also help me to truly value, appreciate and love my true friends deeply.

I have been blessed to have so many wonderful, deep, and real friendships through each stage of my life. And even more special, I have been allowed to maintain most of the friendships even if from a distance.
I have friends that challenge me, encourage me and call me to be exactly who God created me to be.

I was also a people pleaser growing up. Having tons of “friends“ in all orders of life. I had my first true friend in my last year of high school and can still call her up and have her call me out on my silliness. Since that amazing friendship I have been blessed with many more friends with the same level of commitment and love. Distance doesn’t even seem to matter. I craved closeness and openness growing up and never really achieved it until almost adulthood and it’s amazing and terrifying. I love having women in my life who I can be myself around, and I love (and cringe) when they can call me out and encourage and draw me back to the Lord.
I love that the Lord created us to be in community. I seem to be learning what the encompasses more and more in the past 10 years. This first video had me grinning because it is so right!

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