Each of us long to have meaningful relationships. Good, Christian friendships are so important. It is important to surround yourself who can speak love and truth into your life. Real friends are the ones that love you no matter what, through the good and the bad. You will hold each other accountable, encourage one another and offer forgiveness.
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However, no matter what, we have all had friendships that don’t measure up to our expectations. In some way or another, our friends have failed us or we have failed our friends. Yet, this shouldn’t deter us from cultivating strong, Christian friendships.
Bible Verses About Friendship
God created community and friendship. He knows how much we need each other during our time here on earth. It doesn’t always come easy. It sometimes takes a lot of sacrifices. It also takes patience and humility.
God made friendships so that we could build each other up in truth and love. Jesus reconciled us first to God so that we could be reconciled to each other. While ultimate friendship will only be accomplished in heaven, there is so much joy to be found in living in a community with others now.
As always, we can turn to the Bible for verses on friendship.
Proverbs 27:9: Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.
Proverbs 18:24: A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
John 15:12-13: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Job 42:10: And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
How to Build Strong, Christian Friendships
As you can see above, friendship is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Our most memorable moments happen in the company of friends. We laugh, we cry, and show up for each other when the days are good or hard.
However, cultivating strong, Christian friendships take work. Here are a few simple tips to help you build strong, Christian friendships.
Make Time For Friends
It is so easy to make excuses that we don’t have time for anyone else but ourselves. However, where and who you spend your time on shows what you value. Make a plan to hang out and commit to showing up. Most importantly, be present at the moment during interactions with friends.
If you need to go run errands or go to a workout, invite your friend to come. One day, I invited a friend to go to Staples with me to get a new office chair. We spent a good 30 minutes testing out every desk chair in the place. I also love working out with friends than going out to lunch or dinner afterward.
Being less busy and making time is just one of the ways of cultivating stronger friendships.
Call Your Friends
Seriously do it! I take that back, CALL your friends. Let them know that you are thinking of them. Maybe that is the early millennial (before the ’90s) in me, but you learn so much more over the phone.
We are on our phones all day, every day scrolling through social media yet it is so hard to send a text message to someone we have been meaning to talk to. Part of this could be that we expect that person to take the initiative and reach out first. But I bet you they are thinking the same thing you are. So pick up your phone and give them a call. I bet you will pick up right where you left off.
Be Open and Vulnerable With Your Friends
I absolutely hate this part of relationships. However, if you want to build strong, Christian friendships and see them grow, you must open up and be vulnerable.
Friendships go through ups and downs, but what makes them beautiful is being vulnerable and going through those moments together. Open up to your friends and let them into your life, both the joys and the struggles. And, in turn, allow them to share what they are going through. Celebrate with the joys and offer peace and hope during the hard times.
Be Present With Your Friends
Like I said above, most importantly be present when you are with your friends. Put away your cell phone, actively listen to them, and try to really understand and empathize with what they are going through.
Praise and Worship With Your Friends
This is different than making time for your friends. Although, they go hand in hand. Praise and worship with your friends by gathering around the Gospel and serving one another, the church and your community.
Prayer for Cultivating Strong, Christian Friendships
Pray to God regularly by thanking him for your friendships as well as asking how you can be a better friend.
“Lord, I praise you today for friendships that refresh my soul. Thank you for giving us people in our lives who will walk alongside and encourage us through the good and bad times. Help me to be more aware and present with my friendships. Lord, give me wisdom to cultivate strong, Christian friendships that bring glory to you. Bind us together and remind us of your greater purpose for friendship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
We belong together. I challenge you this week to put yourself out there and make time to cultivate strong, Christian friendships.