Intersection of Life and Faith

These Revelations Changed How I Think about Friendship

  • Meg Bucher (Megs) Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2019 26 May
These Revelations Changed How I Think about Friendship

Every friendship begins with a hint of selfishness that we all innately possess. But if we learn to flip our vision outward in obedience to God and service to others, His purpose for friendship is revealed.

Jesus set the bar. He came to serve, not to be served. What did that look like in His earthly friendships? He was open to conversation with anyone, friendly with everyone, but held 12 people closer than others. And Jesus knew the best way to befriend someone was occasionally to confront them with the truth, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. He had to allocate His time and manage relationships just as we do on this earth.

What else can we learn from Him and apply to our lives? Here are 10 revelations that have the power to transform friendships.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    1. God is the one who provides friends.

    “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

    It’s probably one of the most popular verses on friendship, but if we’re honest, it’s hard to find one single person on this earth to be the Jonathon to our David. Jesus is our “love at all times.” When life strips our souls bare, He remains. And he blesses, often by providing a friend.

    I believe when we come to Him first, He will litter our paths with people when we need them. On the flip side, our close relationship with Christ will lead us to be that extension of love for others. Instead of looking for a friend, we are charged first to look to Him. Then He fills our lives with the support He knows we need. The Author of all hearts, perfectly loving us all equally, is powerful and faithful to orchestrate the symphony of relationship in our lives.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    2. Praise from people, and mine of others, is nothing if not rooted in Christ.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1 (NIV)

    Who knows our hearts better than Jesus? Who knew us from the begining and came to earth to feel what we feel? He felt betrayal and criticism, but also loyalty and love. He knows that we cannot perfect a single one of those elements outside of His love.

    All too often, we find ourselves conflicted over our own imperfections. We bite at each other and shame each other. But that’s not Jesus’ version of friendship. He defines it with love, forgiveness, compassion, loyalty, and steadfastness. When we marinate our minds in the truth of His Word daily, we equip ourselves to be able to see each other as He sees us. Forgiveness becomes possible, even if it takes time and repetition. Loyalty, compassion, and empathy will pour out of us and into our friendships when we are watered in the Word.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    3. Friendship is much more than a coincidental meeting followed up by common interests.

    “And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 20:17 (NIV)

    As these two friends pursued obedience to the Lord, their lives, though brought so closely together for a moment in time, would tragically be torn apart. Jonathan faithfully choose to trust God and remain loyal to his friend David, knowing full well that their friendship was much more than a coincidental meeting followed up by common interests. He put himself at risk to protect a throne that should have been his to accept after his father, King Saul. God grows us through our friendships. Sometimes, it’s hard growth. Other times, it’s the encouragement we need to see ourselves for who we really are.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    4. New friendships breathe life into loneliness.

    “Who is a God like you?” Micah 7:18

    There are parts of our hearts that we are not comfortable sharing with anyone, not even family or close friends. In the moments that threaten to tear us a part, God wants us to lean in. The miraculous omnipotence of our faithful Father can speak Truth into our hearts from someone who is completely oblivious of our backstory. From the pastor on stage addressing a situation in your heart that you’ve not told a soul, to the mom at the grocery store who assures you that her kid has melted down in the cereal aisle, too.

    He has people in place to keep hopelessness at bay. Those are confirming moments of His great love, for me. The friends who bump into me in the midst of a battle and drop a bomb of truth sends shards into consuming anxiety and fear.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    5. Perspective comes with the onset of applied wisdom.

    “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

    We crave Love. Not just the fleeting feeling of liking dark chocolate and coffee so much we can barely start the day without it or loving another person so much we fear the day we might have to live on this earth without them.

    The seeds that God has planted along the path of our lives are watered with His Word. To be a good friend, and to have good friends, we need to have a relationship with the on true Friend. The One who will never leave us, always hear us, defend us, and love us (even confront and convict us) more than we will ever be able to understand this side of heaven. To get past our self-centered default and onto that level of friendship with another human being requires love.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    6. God’s purpose for friendship doesn’t always look akin to a social media montage.

    “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)

    Other languages have different words for love. This kind of love is clearly one of those contexts that we who speak English miss out on. The same word we use for our “love” of McDonald’s fries, our “love” of the Browns (maybe just my fellow native Clevelanders), the shirt we “love,” and the spouse we “love.”

    The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says that “Greeks considered dying for someone the greatest expression of love; Paul had actually risked his life among them.” If we are willing to seek Him first, we will undoubtably run into other who are doing the same thing. Do we trust God enough to let Him redefine the meaning of friendship in our lives? Faced outward, in service?

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    7. The love we have for our friends begins with the love He has for us.

    “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9 (NIV)

    When we attach ourselves to the vine of Life, love flows through everything we do and onto everyone we meet. We need friends to remain in God’s love, because He has carefully crafted and purposed each life to make an appearance in others’ as the extending arms of His love. His banner over us is love, and it ripples through daily life in the company He keeps within reach. Friends encourage us, hold us accountable, and remind us we’re not alone on this earth.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    8. The last words of The Friend to His friends were about love.

    “You do not realize not what Im’ doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7 (NIV)

    Jesus washed the feet of his friends. He not only spoke of love but gave them so many examples of how to love each other. He loved them by serving them.

    Do we stoop low to serve our friends in love? The peace that we forfeit is a result of a self-centered view of the purposed function of friendship. Jesus was outwardly focused, not worried about who would pay Him back or be there for Him when He was lonely; He trusted God first. We so desperately need to soften our hearts from the hard battering of humanity’s self-centered default.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    9. Jesus promises never to leave us, and sometimes He places a friend by our side to remind us.

    “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

    Jesus was at home in His Father’s love. He often stepped back from activity to be alone with His Father in prayer. We tend to turn on our heals and run when relationships start to implode. Judas ran. Peter ran and wept. Yet, we can picture the gaze that Jesus points at him as that bird crowed one more time, but it wasn’t an accusatory gaze. It was an “I love you, anyway,” promise.

    We don’t get relationships right, a lot of the time. God doesn’t call us failures for fallouts between imperfect people. He assures us we’re never too far gone. We're never past another chance at being a better friend, constructing better boundaries, becoming better communicators. Fallen friendships are not always our fault, nor is every friendship as much about us as we make it out to be. His purpose is greater. And if we’re still on earth breathing, we still have one.

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  • 1. God is the one who provides friends.

    10. Today, a note of kindness will mean everything to someone.

    “If you remain in my and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” John 15:5 (NIV)

    Christ's compassionate kindness means everything to someone who’s everything is crumbling. Friends populate our lives because we were never created to walk through life’s lessons alone. Jesus is the perfect definition of friendship. Because of Him we can go to our great God in times of need (Hebrews 4:16), trusting He’s placed enough Light in our lives to pierce through the thinnest fog and the toughest days.

    Meg Bucher 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. 

    This article is adapted from her book, "Friends with Everyone …Friendship within the Love of Christ."

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