I don't know about you, but having true friends can be hard to find. We have all kinds of relationships but at different levels. Sure, we all have people that are our "Facebook friends" or "twitter followers" but I'm talking about friends that are committed to doing life together. I've been blessed to have friends in my life that have impacted me. God created us for relationship! "Friends will determine the direction and quality of our lives (7 Checkpoints)."
"Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
In today's culture, it seems to me that people are becoming more isolated than ever before. We have more technology than ever before in history but it has become a mask for the real need of face-to-face relationships. What is a true friend? Is it much more than an "acquaintance?" or "facebook friend?"
Ed Young Jr. used an illustration of a swimming pool where many times the shallow end is what makes up a majority of our relationships. We can go through life wearing "relational floaties" and never reach the deep end of friendships.
What does it mean to be a friend? – a trustworthy person you mutually choose to love and to encourage in order to bring God glory. We need Christian friends to survive in a world of isolation. We were not meant to live the Christian life alone! For those of you who have been true friends to me, you know who you are!
How do we understand which friend types to avoid?
- “Take what I can get” friend - Focused upon taking what they can for themselves at any cost.
- “Be happy I’m your friend” - Insecurity leads to conforming to be accepted by the "popular" people.
- “Friends with Benefits” – the more money and toys you have, the more people want to be your friend!
- “OCD: Must-know-everything-psycho” - busy-body who loves to gossip, if they gossip, they are doing the same to you when you aren’t around.
- A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. Proverbs 20:19
- “Must-Do-Everything-Together” - Selfish person who controls you to be together at any cost in such a way that you lose your own personal identity.
If you pick the wrong friends, you will pay for it. “If you sleep with dogs, you are going to get fleas.” Southern Proverb. Paul told the Corinthians, “bad company corrupts good character” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
What does your friendships look like? Are you a friend that pushes people closer to Jesus?
- When a need arises, can you be depended upon to follow through? A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" Proverbs 18:24.
- Friends will stick with you especially when you fail.
- Friends will lift you out of times of crisis.
- A friend will encourage you to live for Jesus. "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
In order to grow in our faith, we must learn how to build Christ-like relationships.
What steps can we take to move our friendship from shallow to real, creating a place of trust and accountability?
Jesus set the example of the ultimate friend, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13