The Bible is God’s love letter to us in which it talks about His faithful and great love for us. It is also a manual filled with wisdom and instructions for us for our daily living.
The Bible talks about the relationship God has with us, as well as our relationship with Him. It also talks about our relationship with others: our family, our employer, employee, co-workers, friends and enemies.
The Bible paints portraits of godly friendships in the Bible which makes us smile when reading about their deep love for each other. I think about David and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth (though they are mother-and-daughter-in-law) Jesus and Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
True friends are hard to find. How does a true friendship look like?
1.True Friends Point us to God
True friends encourage us in our daily walk. I know my true friends are keepers because they risk our friendship to tell me what I needed to hear rather than what I wanted to hear. It hurts but that is how I can grow and be mature as a person and as a Christian (as a pastor, too!).
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiply kisses” (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)
2.True Friends Encourage your dreams
Have you ever met a friend over lunch and afterwards you feel so motivated, refreshed and inspired to tackle the world (may be the world is an overstatement…) or to tackle the challenges in your life? Or your friends open your eyes to see the world from a fresh new perspective. True friends are able to exchange meaningful conversations and also point us to the wonder and beauty of God and His creations.
True friends will not be ashamed to share about what God has done in each other’s lives. True friends will encourage your pursuit of your God-given dreams.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another…” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)
3.True Friends Pray for Us
One of the best gifts our friends give us is prayer. They keep us close to their hearts by remembering us in their prayers and then they will follow up with us to see how we are progressing.
“Carry each other’s burden, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
4.True Friends Are People with Character
The Bible makes it clear that we should choose our friends wisely.
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26, NIV).
The friends that we choose to spend time with heavily impact our thought patterns and character. Choosing friends with godly character will make us more joyful because we are walking in the path that pleases God. Choose friends who love the Lord and who bear good fruits in their lives.
Because we live in a fallen world, we are all sinful people. True friends will forgive each other and move on. We don’t hold on to grudges or keep them in our hearts.
5.True Friends Chose to Love Us
There may come a period of time where we are going through some tough issues and we are not who we used to be. In this season, we may whine more than usual or become overly anxious or get into the self-pity mode. True friends will not leave us but they will listen to our whines, pray for us and encourage us. It may be just a phase but it will be clear who your true friends are. They stick with you through your ups and downs.
“A friend loves at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)
Bonus tip: I enjoy it when my friends are also friendly with my parents. Since childhood, my parents know my friends by their names. Since then, I have many more wonderful people coming into my life. And my parents know them by name or at least have met them face to face. Now that I am an adult, it pleases my heart when my friends and my parents know each other and enjoy a meal together.
If you have not introduced your friends to your parents, perhaps you can try to arrange something simple and yet relaxing so that they can know one another and enjoy a wonderful time?