In the last 50 years, we have seen sweeping technological advancements — yet technology has done little to confront the problems of loneliness and emptiness. Perhaps like no other time in human existence, loneliness plagues teenagers and adults alike. The inability to make and to keep friends has become a common disease. Even among Christians, godly friendships have become a lost art.
One of the first recorded sentences God ever uttered about the man whom He created was the following: "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). It is imperative that we know how to develop godly friendships. To do so, we need to look no further than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Proverbs 18:24 tells us that "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Jesus is such a friend.
When sin penetrated the hearts of Adam and Eve, they not only became alienated from God, but they also became alienated from each other. When Jesus died on the cross, He made it possible for all who believe in Him to be in fellowship with God — and also in godly fellowship with one another. Godly friendships are the evidence of our belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. But godly friendships are not found; they are made. They are built up stone by stone. They are established on biblical principles.
A godly friendship never pivots on equal return of service or return of affection. Godly friendships move away from self and toward loved ones. Godly friends desire their friends' welfare. They find joy in the prosperity of their friends, and their sorrow is in their misfortune and grief. They enjoy doing and enduring for each other. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Godly friendships are self-sacrificing and life-transforming. The intimacy we long for is found in Christ and expressed through godly friendships. Jesus said to his disciples, "I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15). A godly friend is given information that no one else has, building precious intimacy.
Godly friendships are fruit-bearing. No one in the universe wants you to reach your potential more than God — and He knows your greatest potential will be expressed in your love for others. Jesus loves you unconditionally, and it is from a place of unconditional love that godly friendships are formed. The Lord Jesus Christ gave His life for us. As we grow in the qualities of a godly friend, we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ because He is the perfect model of a true friend.
Do you long for godly friendships? If so, then take action. Just as God took the initiative in choosing us as His friends (see John 15:16) and in providing a way for our friendship with Him through the death and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, godly friends take the initiative. They do not wait for the other person to need, to trust, or to love them. They step out, by faith, in love and service.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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