Daily nourishment, a roof over our heads at the very least, we can usually thank God for these things. And you’ll probably find quite a bit more, when you stop to count your blessings.
God’s gifts shouldn’t be taken for granted, but oftentimes we have to learn to appreciate them.
One such gift is the blessing of companionship…
Do you have friendships that enrich your life and fill you with gratitude?
In this age of social media, people have more friends than ever. But what about loyal companions who know you intimately and stick by you through good times and bad? We all need this, yet deep relationships are harder to find than ever before.
God created us as relational beings so we could interact with Him and each other.
That’s why after making Adam, He created Eve, saying, It is not good for the man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Throughout Scripture there are accounts of companionship—Moses and Aaron, David and Jonathan, Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Jesus chose 12 men to be His disciples, and three were even closer friends—Peter, James, and John.
The Lord doesn’t want you to walk through life alone.
If you feel a void in this area of your life, I’d like to offer you some help.
First of all, our intimate friends are usually few in number. And friendships don’t come automatically; they require time, effort, and unselfishness.
There’s also emotional risk because at some point, you may be hurt by a friend. But that shouldn’t stop you from finding a trustworthy companion and cultivating a relationship you both find fulfilling.
Building a long-lasting friendship requires a good foundation.
Mutual interests are the starting point in friendship, and the most important one is a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior.
Although we’re not to isolate ourselves from non-Christians, they won’t necessarily be our closest friends because their values, desires, and beliefs might be contrary to ours. The Bible warns that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33).
We need friends who draw us nearer to the Lord, not farther away.
The second building block is a relationship governed by biblical principles.
One of the reasons friendships fall apart is a failure to treat each other as God’s Word says. We need to be a friend, and have a friend, who is patient, kind, humble, unselfish, and forgiving—not holding grudges, becoming jealous, being easily provoked to anger, or acting ugly (1 Cor. 13:4-5).
Philippians 2:4 reminds us to look out for the other person’s interests more than our own.
If we enter a relationship out of neediness, it will soon become imbalanced. We’ll constantly lean on our friend to meet our own needs. That’s exhausting for the other person and will likely drive him or her away.
God wants us ultimately to lean on Him, not on another human being, because He alone is sufficient to meet all our needs, whether physical, material, emotional, or Spiritual.
Third, lasting relationships are built on mutual spiritual edification.
We encourage each other in the faith, share what we’ve learned in God’s Word, talk about the Lord, and pray for and with each other. When a close companion is going through a hard time, we give empathy and support, and if God blesses our friend in some way, we will likely rejoice together (Rom. 12:15). Sometimes, edification takes the form of a reproof given in a spirit of humility and gentleness (Gal. 6:1).
Fourth, an intimate relationship is built on mutual transparency.
It’s impossible to cultivate a deep relationship when one party refuses to open up. You can’t build friendships with someone who’s built a wall so high and thick that no one can get through.
The apostle Paul had this problem with the church at Corinth. He had laid bare his heart to them, but they were restrained toward him. So he pleaded with them to open wide their hearts in like exchange (2 Cor. 6:11-13).
Experiencing all the dimensions of a good friendship will make you profoundly thankful—both for the person you’ve befriended and for God’s goodness in bringing the two of you together.
My prayer is that you’ll find a loyal, trustworthy friend and that together, you’ll grow in your relationship with the Lord.
Following these biblical guidelines will open a path to contentment, joy, and fulfillment. That devoted friend could become one of God’s richest blessings in your life.