Will we die to ourselves? Will we take up our cross and love our friends in the way which Jesus first role modelled loving friendship to us? Will we say no to gossip, judgement, unforgiveness and drama with the help of Christ? Will we sacrificially love those God has placed around us? Will we role model to our daughters biblical and Christ-like friendships with other women? Will we embrace the foundations for flourishing together as sisters-in-Christ and light up the world with our biblical friendships?RENEE EMERSON
What does the Bible say about friendship, and how does this differ from what worldly friendships tend to offer us?
Recently I was pondering a quote I read in the book “Closer Than A Sister” by Christina Fox. She states “there are no authentic friendships outside of Christ”. Initially I was a little unsure – after all, I’ve seen what I thought to be authentic and loving friendships between non-Christians, and yet this statement also made a lot of sense.
The world approaches friendship in an utterly contrasting way to the Bible, so it is no surprise when we truly examine these worldly friendships and find them lacking. Often, worldly friendships can be very self-serving. When our friendships do not have Christ at the centre – we often put our own needs, wants and desires at the centre. Instead of being others-focused, our friendships become an avenue of meeting our own needs, instead of a way to bless one another. Even if these worldly friendships are sacrificial and more others focused, they may still be hiding roots of jealously, unforgiveness and unmet expectations. Hurts become bitter resentments, miscommunication becomes a grudge, tough circumstances causes a lack of empathy or a comparison of “who has it harder”; without Christ’s role model of friendship – our selfish and sinful nature will overcome the goodness in the friendship.
When I was thinking of my own friendships, I thought of my sweet, cherished and dear best friend. We’ve been close for a few years, and what begun as more of a mentoring type relationship, blossomed into a true biblical friendship. I have been experiencing a friendship free from drama, self-centredness, jealousy, and gossip and this is extremely rare and precious. This friendship – built on our unity with Christ is a REAL friendship. It is a means of grace, forgiveness, non-judgment, accountability, growth, and seeking Jesus together; it has become my template for all other friendships and encourages me that biblical based friendships do help us flourish. It is not a perfect friendship – as nothing is perfect this side of eternity – yet, in it’s imperfection and true authenticity it is perfect for me, and while we hold tight to Christ together, the world can try to corrupt it, but it will fail.
We can tell the difference between worldly and authentic friendships by assessing our hearts and our intentions. Are we wanting to be a blessing? Or are we simply being self-serving with the heart of the relationship about ourselves? If our heart posture is any of the following – we’re doing it wrong;
- What can I get out of this friendship?
- How can this person help me network or further my career?
- I’ll make time for this friend when it’s convenient for me or I don’t have time for this person right now.
- My friends rejoicing and success causes me to envy them.
- My friends mourning causes me to take a step away from them because it’s uncomfortable or exhausting to deal with.
- My friends trials and suffering seem insignificant to me because “my life is harder”.
What is the focus of Biblical friendships?
- Biblical friendships are about doing life together, not merely being ‘Facebook friends’ or friends when time permits.
- Biblical friendships have a purpose to bring about God’s kingdom.
- Biblical friendships help one another through trials, encourage one another, prayerfully support one another and implore one another in the faith.
- Biblical friendships reflect Christ in a broken world.
Overall, a biblical friendship is simply this;
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13
Friends, we need to ask ourselves a few things. Will we die to ourselves? Will we take up our cross and love our friends in the way which Jesus first role modelled loving friendship to us? Will we say no to gossip, judgement, unforgiveness and drama with the help of Christ? Will we sacrificially love those God has placed around us? Will we role model to our daughters biblical and Christ-like friendships with other women? Will we embrace the foundations for flourishing together as sisters-in-Christ and light up the world with our biblical friendships?
My prayer for you dear friend, is that you have said yes. Yes to Jesus and his way of doing friendship – even in those hard relationships where you are the only Christ follower – be the light. Bring Jesus into your portion of the friendship, let your life and example be a testimony of the goodness God brings to those who love him. Who knows, your decision to follow Christs example of friendship, and your intentional choice to reject common worldly friendship traits, may direct that unsaved friend straight towards Him. 🙏