Learn how to grow your Christian friendships and characteristics of a good friend according to the bible. Understand the real meaning of the blessing of friendship.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about friendships. I have written a series on the topic from How to Grow in Our Friendship with God, to more fun stuff like Friendship Quotes, Friendship Bible Verses, Praying for Friends and a couple of years ago I preached on the importance of developing deep Christian friendships.
Though I think most of my thoughts recently tend to be frustration on why some people can’t grasp what true friendship should look like or how their views on it are so distorted.
Even in the church, there is very little understanding and teaching on Biblical friendship.
People tend to think that the relationships that really matters are the ones that are romantic or your children. That’s the one you have to learn to be giving, loving, unselfish, etc…
Friends are on the bottom of the relationship pole. They’re around because you share common interests, they help distract you when you are bored or sad or upset, and the ugly one…we can get something from them.
I disagree with this view and pursuit of friendships, especially in Godly friendships. And I don’t believe that’s what God has intended for us when it comes to having Christian friendships. These friendships can be a HUGE blessing in our lives.
Just to be clear. Yes, I believe a spouse or significant other takes a special priority in our lives and the same with children. They do teach us a lot about the core things in relationships.
BUT a friend is also an important relationship no matter how you look at it. It deserves to be cared for and grown as well.
Friendship holds a TON of value even if it’s not romantic. And especially ones where we are bonded in the faith.
I remember what my pastor said years ago in a staff meeting,
“People don’t need psychiatrists they need good friends. People, they can really talk too…”
I think there is a lot of truth in that statement. And not saying people don’t need psychiatrists. But some people go because they need they just need someone to talk to and walk through their stuff with.
That’s what a good friend can do. They can change your life, I know this from my personal experience.
I’ve been blessed with some great long term friendships. Some I would even call covenant friends. These are the ones that have taught me a lot on what it means to be supportive, caring, consistent, open and more.
The Bible talks about friendship quite a bit. And one that is very powerful is covenant friendships. These are friendships that go above and beyond. There is a bond made through declaration and action.
Definition of covenant in Webster Dictionary 1: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement :… international law, which depends upon the sanctity of covenants between rulers.— George H. Sabine 2a: a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action the deed conveying the land contained restrictive covenants b: the common-law action to recover damages for breach of such a contract.
I like how Back to the Bible puts it…” A covenant turns something ordinary into something very special. It is not an act that should be taken lightly.”
Here are some Biblical examples of covenant friendships in the Bible:
|Ruth & Naomi
|But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to. leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. – Ruth 1:16
|David & Jonathan
|Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. – 1 Samuel 18:3
“Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendant and my descendants forever.” – 1 Samuel 20:42
|Paul & Timothy
|To Timothy my true son in the. faith: Grace, mercy and peace. from God the Father and Christ. Jesus our Lord. – 1 Timothy 1:2
For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. – 1 Corinthians 4:17
|Elijah and Elisha
|And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. – 2 Kings 2:2
And now let’s take a look at some tips on characteristics of a good friend according to the Bible.
How To Cultivate Deep Biblical Friendships
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Here is a fun corky video on the 10 Friendship Tips. For a deeper understanding of the tips scroll through the post.
These tips will help YOU become a better friend. I can’t promise you a friend will treat you this way. I have had friends treat me well and I have had friends not. Trust me not always fun.
But hold on to the ones that do! It’s those relationships that you experience the true blessing of friendship.
And if you don’t have anyone like that then my advice is to pray for one. I prayed for a long time, but God was faithful. He sent me a very good friend to me. We have been friends for the past 18 years.
When reading through these tips keep 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in mind.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
10 Tips For Christian Friendship
TIP 1: Remember the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Seems simple enough, but being self-focused is a big problem in our society. Learning to not be so self-focused will benefit not just your friendships but all your relationships.
TIP 2: Be a safe place for them.
No matter what your friend is going through be a place they can run too. Don’t be quick to judge…help them.
TIP 3: Reveal yourself to them, don’t hide who you truly are.
A good friendship is a two-way road. Share yourself with them. Be open and transparent.
TIP 4: Don’t be afraid to confront them, if they hurt your feelings & don’t become defensive when they confront you.
Sometimes things get said or done that can hurt your feelings. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friend about this. The key is to remember is not to talk to them in anger.
Get a hold of your emotions FIRST. Wait a few days, pray into it, forgive and then talk to them in a way that is KIND. Remember they are your friend.
Now, sometimes the tables are turned and you said or did something. If a friend comes to you to express how something made them feel. Try not to defend yourself or get offended. Try your best to listen and understand their point.
All in all, this is not always a cut and dry process. Different types of personalities hurt, and insecurities can make this kind of thing tricky. Just try your best to always respond or react in a way that is kind, gentle, and loving. This doesn’t mean you are weak, but that you value the relationship. (Galatians 5:22-23, Phillippians 4:5)
TIP 5: Cover them in prayer and minister to each other
This is a BIG one. Sure you can go to the movies and chit chat, but when you pray for each other and even minister to each other it creates an even deeper bond. It’s on a spiritual level…not just emotional. This is what is called true fellowship.
Prayer and ministry don’t have to be in the 4 walls of the church. Bring God into your friendship.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people – 1 Timothy 2:1
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16
TIP 6: Comfort and support them through hard times AND celebrate them through good times.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – Romans 15:15
Nothing will kill a friendship like not responding well to the season God has them in. I remember when I lost my dad. Some friends responded well to my mourning and encouraged, supported me, others did not.
On the flip side, I recently talked to a friend who is getting married. She is excited, to say the least, but she was heartbroken that when she told a friend she was getting married that they responded poorly to her announcement and said some not so nice things.
Remember… So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12
TIP 7: Don’t try to change them or put them in a box.
We all have our quirks, dreams, and things we like. They may be similar to yours or not. Don’t try to change a friend to fit your idea of what they should be or what you would like.
FYI – I am not talking about sin issues here. Just normal things in our personality that are different. If your friend is dealing with sin issue then speak to them in love and help them. Don’t feel comfortable doing this? Then pray for them.
TIP 8: Spend time with them.
It’s hard to be friends or keep friendships with someone if there is no time spent in communicating and interacting. Try to connect with them over the phone, meet up for coffee, go to a church event together, or go on a fun friend date. Create memories with each other. This will deepen your connection.
TIP 9: Help stir up their faith and encourage them to pursue God Will
A friend who causes you to love God more is a keeper. Similar to tip 5 this is all about our spiritual bond to each other. This is what makes Christian friendships powerful, deep, and meaningful. God is at the center of them.
TIP 10: Above all just LOVE them
Like I mentioned above in 1 Corinthians 13. The foundation of our friendships has to come from a place of God’s love. Not about what we can get out of that connection.
As mentioned above If you really want a good friend in your life I recommend three things:
- Pray for a good friend
- Start being a good friend
- Even if you get hurt, don’t lose heart. Keep the standard of what a good friend looks like.
If this post on cultivating your Christian friendships has ministered to you or you have some thoughts you would like to share. Please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…