What Does the Bible Say about Friendship?
- Meg Bucher (Megs) Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2018 19 Mar
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
Friendship is often highlighted by Facebook “friendiversary” videos and best friend forever promises, but God places people in our lives as purposeful extensions of His love. In this life, we are promised to experience a multitude of heart wrenching moments. The community of people we befriend in life help us to traverse through them.
A thread of friendship is woven throughout the entirety of Scripture, and Abraham’s friendship with God reminds us of the importance of maintaining that friendship first. “Scripture called Abraham God’s friend, perhaps partly because God would not keep relevant matters from him.” -NIV CBSB
In Abraham’s day, it was rare to have an intimate relationship like that with the One True God. For us, through Christ’s death on the cross, we have every day access to our Heavenly Father! What a friend we have in Him. Through prayer and the Word, He promises to hear us and answer us, to fight our battles and comfort us.
Moses also experienced a deep friendship with God. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). But even Moses was not able to see the promised land that he led God’s people to because of the Old Testament law. We live New Testament lives, and share in the inheritance that Moses could never bear eyewitness to. The God of the universe is concerned for us. His friendship is powerful and perfect.
“All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:15)
Through the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us, the friendship between God and His people continues in us, through Jesus Christ. His sacrifice gave us access to God’s Word, and the gift of His Holy Spirit. The Truth of God’s Word has been revealed to us. In Christ, we have a friend.
Once we realize what a friend we have in Jesus, and who we are in His eyes, we can better understand what the Bible says about our friendships between each other here on earth. We are all imperfect, so expecting perfect friendship between two imperfect people is unrealistic. When we prayerfully consider those that God has placed in our paths, we will find our community of friends.
We don’t have to guard our hearts in our friendship with Jesus. But Proverbs 4:23 warns us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The quickest way into a sticky friendship situation is by putting any friendship over God. Jonathan and David were friends based on their mutual love and respect for each other, but moreover, for God. They both put God first, and it allowed them to experience a rich and loyal friendship. Even years after Jonathan had died, David cared for his disabled son.
Nicki Koziarz puts it perfectly in her book, Why Her: “While it’s incredibly important that you and I get to the place where we can honestly say the words, ‘I’m not okay,’ we also need to know who we can trust to speak into our lives. Don’t let just anyone into this private place. Guard your heart carefully to be sure you gain the right understanding.”
Scripture cautions us to take captive every thought. Although our friends will often minister to our hearts, the focus of friendship should be to serve, not be served.
“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15 NASB)
The Greek Word for “friends” is phials, meaning not only to be a friend or friendly to, but an associate. Dictionary.com defines this as, “an organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure.”
Biblical friendship isn’t for the sole purpose of companionship; it’s for a greater cause. We need friends, because we are going to go through some things on this earth that we cannot endure alone. But before we bear our hearts to just anyone, it’s important to make sure they can be trusted with our hearts. The wisdom we need to foster trustworthy and loyal friendships is found in the daily pursuit of God’s Word, and compassionate calling on our lives.
Father, praise You for friendship. There are so many stories in Scripture of trustworthy and loyal friendships. From Abraham and Moses and their friendships with You, to Jonathan and David and their loyalty to you above each other, we learn what true godly friendship looks like. As we look to You daily for wisdom, reveal the stories of friendships that scatter the pages of Your Word, and help us to learn how to be good friends. Oftentimes we are inwardly focused on what our friends can do for us, and we pray Your forgiveness for our selfish perspective. Soften our hearts to a servant perspective of friendship, trusting that when we seek to be extensions of your love, You will undoubtedly provide arms to embrace and care for us, as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Meg Bucher (Meg) encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org.
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