By Nathan Washburn
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Greenbrier
From the beginning of creation, we know that God made us to be in relationship with others. After God had created everything else, He created man, but Adam was alone, and it was “not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). This was the first thing that was not good. Light — good. Creatures — good. Man — good. Man alone — not good. So God created Eve, and brought her to the man. Marriage was established, and the only two people on the planet found themselves in relationship together. This shows us the profound need we have to be in relationship with others.
Good friends are a gift of God to us. It is grace to be able to share life with others (David and Jonathan, I Samuel 18-20), to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and to weep and rejoice together (Romans 12:15). We find ourselves sharpened and balanced when we have good friends. But this is not a passive endeavor. In order to have friends, you must be a friend. If we’re going to forge true, lasting friendships, we must seek to:
Be a friend of Christ. Our truest friend is God himself, and He is the one with whom we long to be in relationship the most. In the Old Testament, Moses spoke to God in a way that was personal and relatable. The Lord spoke with him “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). In the New Testament, Jesus, the full revelation of God, gathered followers to himself in order to make things known to them as friends. “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). As friends of Christ, let us abide in Him.
Be a friend who acts like Christ. Friends of Christ will take His demeanor. His love will be present in them. His character will shine through. His humility will spill over. In fact, Christlikeness was Paul’s call to the Philippians when He exhorted them to have the same mind of Christ, which meant they would count others more significant than themselves (Philippians 2:3-5). To be a true friend means to seek to imitate Christ by exhibiting the fruit of the same Spirit of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).
Be a friend who talks of Christ. As stewards of the gospel of Christ, we have a specific mission to make disciples as we go about our daily lives. We are to seek to make friends for the sake of the gospel. True joy for anyone only comes from knowing Christ. With this in mind, it is then not disingenuous to seek friends for the purpose of sharing the gospel. Instead, it’s the opposite. We know that he or she will not have any deep, lasting joy or peace until they are reconciled to God through Christ and abide in His love (John 15:9-11). With their best in mind, then, we seek to begin a friendship.