Friends: A Gift from God

Jun. 3, 2024 | By Creflo Dollar

Friends are an important component in a meaningful life. The right ones can bring us joy and happiness; the wrong ones can make us miserable and derail our relationship with God. The devil is always looking for ways to meddle in our lives and destroy us; one of the ways he does this is by influencing the friendships we make. Knowing what the Word says about this keeps the enemy from introducing evil into what should be a blessing from God.

Relationships are Important to God

There are two kinds of relationships God wants us to take care of—our relationship with Him and our relationships with each other. Without a right relationship with Him, first and foremost, we won’t have good relationship with others. This is most easily seen in marriage relationships. A good marriage is built on the foundation of a strong, solid friendship. To be a good husband or wife, we need to be good friends, first. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

Too many people fail in this area. Things won’t work right if we skip the first part and try to jump straight into a relationship, whether it be marriage or friendship. Everything starts with a relationship with the Word. God inhabits His Word; therefore, a relationship with God entails a relationship with His Word.

Successful Relationships Have Specific Characteristics

The kind of love necessary for our friendships isn’t shallow or easily broken. God compares this level of friendship to family. Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble(Proverb 17:17, MSG). This requires that we can completely trust our friends, which means we must choose them carefully. If we don’t trust someone, it may not be a good idea to make friends with them.

Loyalty is another component. True friends never desert us when we’re in trouble and need help; they stick with us through hard times. A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need(Proverbs 17:17, NLT). God wants to teach us to be loyal friends so that when we take it to the next level, we’ll automatically be loyal to our spouses. We don’t bail out on our relationships, no matter their type, when challenges show up.

Godly Relationships Benefit Both Parties

True friends don’t expect anything from us; this eliminates the possibility of unrealistic expectations that could threaten to dissolve the friendship. Neither do they hold grudges carried over from past hurts, but instead are always ready to forgive. They’re not jealous or envious, but rejoice with us in good times and give us a shoulder to cry on in painful times. They listen intently to us, help carry our burdens, send up prayers to God on our behalf, and lovingly point us back to Jesus if we’re drifting away.

None of us are perfect, and we can all miss the mark sometimes. Our friends can be our moral compass when we’re about to make a bad decision. At our lowest point, they love us enough to bring us back to God by pointing out Scripture and showing us how it applies to us. 

We keep coming back to the characteristic of love; this means everything to God. True friends are never mean-spirited or cruel. They’re honest with us and tell us the truth, but do so kindly and in love. This helps in our spiritual growth.

Everyone Needs Friends

Some people are convinced that they don’t need friends. This comes from a place of brokenness and hurt; it’s important not to stay in this place, because God created the friendship relationship for our benefit. It helps build a bridge from where we are to another place. No man is an island; nothing happens in life without relationships.   

Good friends give us the feedback we need to be better people, the way iron sharpens iron. An isolated person without friends is a lonely person at risk of being deceived. It’s unwise to try to bench press four hundred pounds in the weight room by ourselves; we need someone to spot us. Like this scenario, true friends spot us in life when we need assistance.

Godly Friendships Lead to Godly Marriages

Basing our friendships on God’s Word radically transforms them from the relationships we see in the world. It introduces kindness, compassion, respect, godly love, consideration for others, and biblical equality. Letting Him develop these characteristics in our friendships is critical because they need to carry over into our marriage relationships.

Godly friendships are excellent training for a godly marriage. For either to be successful, they must be defined by God’s Word, not by what the world says. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity(Proverbs 17:17, NIV). We need to learn to walk the love walk in friendship, first. When adversity comes, we don’t break that friendship, no matter how severely it’s tested.

Christian Friendships Help Us on Life’s Journey

We were never meant to go through life alone. Friends hold us accountable for our actions so that we don’t go off the rails. In a world of lies, they’re not afraid to tell us the truth; this allows us to check and correct ourselves when necessary as part of our spiritual development.

Friends who care about us help us through life’s challenging times just by being there when we need someone; without them, we could be at risk of curling up in a ball, giving up, and quitting. They also keep us on the right path in our daily sanctification. They won’t just passively sit by and watch us do something harmful to ourselves, but instead will call us out on it. Their godly influence will rub off onto us until we’re convicted about our behavior and change our minds about it.

Facing the world is hard enough on our own without support from people who love us; we need their encouragement when the going gets tough. Believers live in a hostile environment, but surrounding ourselves with godly friends strengthens us. That’s what friends are for. Basking in their influence long enough transforms us into the kind of friend God wants us to be for others, and allows us to be powerful witnesses of His love.   

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