"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Being surrounded by your gal pals is the best feeling in the world. We get to cherish one another's presence, laugh at shared memories, and appreciate every little intricate thing that makes our friend, well—them! It's no secret that this incredible gift from God is a necessity for Christian life. There is something so special about living life alongside our friends, especially those who walk with Jesus, too. We know we have someone to come to for encouragement, prayer, and just a hint of accountability on our faith walk.
While friendship is indeed a lovely, miraculous gift that makes our lives infinitely brighter, it's also safe to say that friendships can be hard. Sometimes it can be inexplicably easy, while other seasons can be hard to maintain. Think long-distance friendships, new challenges, arguments, and the list goes on. Like anything, this is something we can lift up to Jesus in prayer, asking Him for wisdom and guidance as we navigate these oh-so-precious friendships.
Today, we're unpacking some of the ways you can be the best of friend to your gal pals in Christ. Just a few lessons we've learned over the years, as well as some inspirational passages from Scripture to leave you feeling encouraged—and all warm and fuzzy inside, too!
1. Recognizing the Gift From God
"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!" ~ Psalm 133:1
Arguably one of the most cherished of all our earthly goods, we can trace God's gift of friendship to the very beginning of time. When you think of the Triune God, we know there is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This "community" of God proves one powerful truth—we are not meant to live alone. Friendship is a unique gift in a very lonely world. Consider J.C. Ryle's wise words, "The world is full of sorrow because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. It is a lonely place. It is a disappointing place. The brightest sunbeam in it is a friend. Friendship halves our sorrows and doubles our joy." Isn't this the truth? Think of everything you've been through with your friends, from mountain tops to deep valleys. Think about it. There truly is nothing like the affirming words of a friend during a late-night phone session during a bout of anxiety, or a pat on the back and big ol' hug at your birthday party. A good friend is irreplaceable, and their impact on our life is indescribable. When we realize just how precious friendship is, we can appreciate it even more and give glory to God.
2. Celebrating Who God Made Them to Be
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." ~ Romans 12:10
Our friends are more than nice-to-haves in our lives—they're essential to human flourishing. We should celebrate these friends of ours! They do deserve it, after all. Consider your friends and everything you love about them. Could be their laugh, their smile, their humor, their wit, their wisdom, their empathy, and on, and on, and on. Part of being a good friend is specifically recognizing something about your friend that is unique to them, and celebrating that! We encourage you to go beyond what's expected and show your friend how wonderfully they were made. Write a card simply thanking them for being them or plan a party to celebrate one of their most recent wins. You could even surprise them with a small gift to let them know you're thinking of them. Whatever it is, there is room to get creative and celebrate our friends in a whole new way.
3. Giving & Receiving Counsel With Grace
"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice." ~ Proverbs 27:9
This can be a tough one! As you know, being a friend is about halving our sorrows and doubling our joys. Friends bring unparalleled love and joy to our lives, and they also are with us in times of trial and provide words of comfort. There's another piece to this, too. A good friend gives earnest counsel. As Drew Hunter says in his book, Made for Friendship, "Close friends offer one another unique guidance because it comes from two things: personal knowledge and proven love." Your friend knows you better than anyone else, and they've proven that love to you time and time again over the years. The third piece to this puzzle is giving and receiving counsel with grace. This isn't always easy, but it's an essential to Christian living. Think of Proverbs 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise." While there's no magic formula to do this, we encourage you to be open with God in prayer, whether you've been meaning to provide some "tough love" counsel to your friend, or you've received unexpected advice from someone and it makes you feel embarrassed or hurt. Lift everything up to God, and know that this is part of the process. Don't discount your friend entirely!
4. Being a Friend in ALL Seasons
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." ~ Proverbs 17:17
It's easy to be a good friend when all is right in the world. When your job is going well, your personal life is in tip-top shape, and your friends match your energy and enthusiasm. It's a different game altogether when our schedules are packed to the brim, and our friends are coming across as tired, needy, or short with us. The temptation here is to discount them and their struggles, and go back to focusing on our own plate. However, fair-weather friendship has no place in the kingdom of God! While we may have friends that float in and out of our lives for certain seasons, we should always be present and helpful with them—especially during their time of need. Think of Colossians 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." This is a tall order and one we shouldn't take lightly. We're called to be patient and offer forgiveness as God has forgiven us. That's big!
We'll wrap it up with an excerpt from 1 Peter 4:8-10, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
Showcase Your Love in a BIG Way
This unique gift from God deserves to be celebrated. For your next devotional time, take a moment to thank God for all of the purposeful friendships He has placed in your life. Continue to seek out His wisdom as you navigate your social life. Pitfalls and road bumps are bound to pop up and when they do, don't panic! No human relationship is flawless. While we are imperfect at loving our friends, we can certainly do our best. We hope these few tips encouraged you today! Be sure to check out our Christian apparel, too! We've got lots of reminders from Scripture showcased front and center, reminding us bits and pieces of God's truth.