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A Call To Friendship

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As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

From the very beginning of time God said that it was not good for people to be alone. (Gen 2:18). This refers to all people.  It is not good to be alone. We were created for companionship, for friendship. We exist to have fellowship with God and others. And now that this world is a dark place filled with hardship, disappointment, and sin those who have friends to walk with them have something that is more valuable than money.

But here is the trick. Not all friendships are beneficial. There are some people who will drag us down, bring out the worst in us, and tempt us to sin.  (1 Cor. 15:33)

We need to surround ourselves with people who will make us better Christians, encourage us in our marriages, cheer us on in our parenting, and will speak the truth when we are wrong. Who will love us through it all.

“He who walks with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Pro 13:20).

We will not only be influenced by the company we keep, we will be known by it.  This makes it important to seek out friendships with people who will lead us to walk with and become more like Jesus. And let me give you some good news. It is not common interests that solidifies a friendship, but a common Savior. The bond we have with Christ trumps, differing personalities, styles, passions, and hobbies so that we are able to have strong, deep friendships with other sisters in Christ.

Not only do we need to seek out godly friends, we need to learn how to become this kind of friend ourselves. This is something many of us neglect. We want good friends, but do we want to be a good friend?  Jesus calls us to this. Of course a good friend will point other to Jesus, but here are a few things necessary to being a good friend that leads others back to the gospel.

Being a good friend will mean:

1. Giving up our own preferences

There is no room for selfishness in friendships. We need to be willing to give up our own preferences for the good of another person. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, ESV) A good friend will seek to honor and bless those around them.

2. Speak truth kindly

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Pro 27:6)

One of the responsibilities of a friend is to reprove when it is needed. But doing this well requires grace and wisdom. It is not our job to become busybodies, but it is our job to gently and kindly correct if we see our friend walk in a way that is dangerous or in conflict with God’s word.

This means we must also be friends who are willing to hear and accept the reproof of a friend. This shows great spiritual maturity. While it may hurt our feelings we need to remember that  truth spoken in love will be used by God to bear fruit in our lives.

“Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it!” (Psalm 141:5)

“Yes, rebuke a wise man, and he will love you” (Pro 9:8)

3. Be Wise

Bring a good friend demands wisdom. Without it it is easy to overlook sin and danger, or become overly critical. It’s not just reproving that we must care about, but how we reprove. Can we discerning the needs of our friends? What will effectively encourage them in their Christian walk? All of this, and much more, requires wisdom.

It costs to be a good and godly friend. We see the ultimate friendship in Christ. He is wisdom personified. He spoke the truth, and is the truth. And his friendship toward us took him all the way to the grave, for our good. He did more than lay aside preferences, he laid down his life. “Greater love has no man than this: that a man lays down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). Are we willing to lay down our lives for the good of another?

But this cost is the very gold of life!
It is the only antidote for selfishness!
It is the way of Christlikeness!
JR. Miller

Looking to Jesus,

jen-sig

 

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Comments

  1. Wonderful devotion, makes me really think about my life and current situation. I’m a working mother in the military and is difficult for me to find godly friends and I’m basically the only believer at work and find it difficult sometimes not to fall in the trap of the flesh. My prayer today was that when we get to our next duty station, that I’ll find godly women whom I can make friends with :-)

    • Michelle I will be praying for you to find godly and wonderful friends! I live near a large military base (Ft Lewis/McChord, Tacoma WA) and I am sure there are many there too that could use a good and godly friend, and I am praying for them as well, and for God to show me a way to bless and befriend ladies like you serving our country!

    • Michelle check out the wives of faith page. It is for military wives.

  2. I really find it hard to be close to anybody besides my husband. I feel very pulled to be with my husband and kids when I am not at work. I feel like I am doing something wrong or that I am lacking as a person because I have no close female friendships. And I tend to get lonely for that type of friendship sometimes. I am not sure what to want or pray for.

    • Ann, I can so relate. I have had close friends in the past, but as the years have also passed on, we are not as close. I often miss the fellowship with them and gathering together with them all. What I do now is ask God to direct my every step. My husband and I have been attending a fellowship/church about an hour away from our home. We have been attending for a little over a year off and on and have met some really nice people. We enjoy the worship and participating in the Discovery class to learn about the church and how it functions. My next step this coming Spring, is to attend a small group bible study. I am trusting that God will work everything according to His will and plan and that is my prayer for you. Blessings! :)

    • Ann – I feel the exact same way. I’m at work so much that when I’m off I just want to be with my husband and sweet baby girl. Occasionally I’ll do things with some of my girl friends but even then I feel bad for leaving my family. It’s so hard. I know I need to have better balance with it all and that its ok to have some away time but honestly I just love being with my family. I have felt like I’m the only one that feels like this. I’ll be praying for you and I think God will help direct our steps.

      • This is me, too! My husband and I have always enjoyed just being together. Now that we have kids, we love being together as a family. I don’t

      • This is me, too! My husband and I have always enjoyed just being together. Now that we have kids, we love being together as a family. I don’t know anyone else that feels like this, either. We’d make great friends! ;) I feel bad at times that I’ve let my friendships wither away, but at the same time, I don’t want to let go of any of my family time. I’ve felt a little distant during this week of study because I don’t know what to do with this area of my life. Thanks for helping me see that there are others with similar struggles.

  3. I have never had a life long best gal friend outside of my sister. I had a couple of close friends in different stages of life, but none carried till now. Some dissolved due to just growing up and others because of moving away from one another. Over the last 10 years I have kept several close women as friends. Some older,some younger,some in real life,some online. My Mother is also one of my best women friends. It’s nice to have friends that are like minded.

  4. This is truly amazing reading your beautiful post Jen and then reading all the sisters comments! I found this so interesting! My dilemma is different than some and then my heart breaks for others! On the contrary, I’m walking a Godly walk with the saints from my terrific church Waterbury Christian Fellowship (WCF), Waterbury, CT! My husband however is not saved and thinks I’m sort of crazy! Lol. And in my life since salvation, (almost 4 years now baby Christian lol) I’ve realized that almost ALL my friends are saved now! I hang around those folks more than the “old life” friends! (Except co-postal workers) ! But I evangelize and exalt the Lord’s name to my husband and unsaved children and any and all people who will listen! But I try not to go overboard so that not to “scare” them away! I try to be “graceful”!!! Lol. But the hardship and hurt encountered with my husband is heartbreaking. To the point of me leaving the household! Not divorcing or legally separating, but just not living in the toxicity anymore! I check on him daily (double amputee) and help in any way shape or form possible (doctor visits, food, etc.)!!! I should add that he is an alcoholic and takes pain meds that I need to be far far away from as I am in addiction recovery myself! Actually, my testimony is one surreal ocassion as I was saved in drug rehab some four years ago!!! GOD IS SIMPLY AMAZING–WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!!! So you see my perplexity !!! I want soooo badly to give my husband sobriety and salvation!!! But I know that’s interfering with God’s work!!! And so I surround/emerge myself in fellow believers and go faithfully to AA meetings and try to carry the message of both to anyone that will listen and be open to change! He is, after all the love of my life, but so very difficult to be around! He has been an alcoholic waaaaay before amputation! I was too living an extremely sinful/different life!
    But God literally saved me from active addiction and active depression!!! I AM BEYOND GRATEFUL AND CAN ONLY
    SHOUT AND DECLARE MY LOVE TO HIM EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY!!! I’m RE-BORN…it’s that simple! Thank you for letting me share and thank you for GMG! Myself and a few sisters have our group “WOW” Women of Wisdom” under your umbrella! I luuuuuvvvv it! Brings me to His Word every single day!!! Blessings overflowed!!! IJN, Marianne xo

  5. Girls, Ladies,
    Please pray ! I have a decision to make something that I have been wrestling like Jacob with. My desire is God’s will. To be honest, I’m often afraid even though I sometimes think I know the Lord’s will in a matter to move forwArd,( not an easy move); and then ? Because I don’t see any thing beyond this decision with any more direction, I think and am fearful thT I am not sure that I’m hearing clearly. So guess what? you guessed it, I’ m paralyzed in the valley of indecision. Stuck! Pray that I won’t mess up what the Lord’s will is, and that right decisions will be made, and thT I will have the courage to move forward when the time is right. like Esther, for such a time as this!

    • Praying for you Debbie! I totally know where you’re coming from, I’m currently in that situation myself. Keeping you in my prayers! { Marlene ~ Leadership Encourager}

  6. There’s a little something changed in the quoted Proverb. The original is, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.”
    You may think gender has nothing to do with it, but the longer I’m married, the more I see the difference between men’s communication and influence compared to man and woman, or women.
    As a rule, men aren’t as emotional as women. And, the simile holds up because among men, respect trumps emotion.
    If you’ve ever seen iron or steel being fashioned and sharpened, it is brutal. There is heat, sparks, pounding and shaping. Eroding friction brings about the sharpening. And, the secret is to sharpen without ruining the edge.
    Peer pressure among men is an amazing force. I’ve seen some men completely change their ways while others avoid their peer group in order to continue their unsharpened ways. Some groups elevate and improve men because of their integrity, others are little more than animals with gang initiations. But men shape other men.
    Women work together and communicate completely differently. You can see it when boys play together compared to girls. The sharpening, maturing and polishing IS different, just the way God designed it. Unfortunately, the feminization of our culture has reduced men’s iron on iron interactions.

  7. God bless you for that transparency. May God continues to bless you.

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