Friends are life’s greatest treasures. Friends make our life colorful. How we treasure someone determines how close he is to our heart. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” But how can we establish friends? And how can we strengthen those existing ones?
Here is a guide from the Scriptures that will lead us to rewarding relationships in the future:
Be concerned in being a friend, not just in having a friend.
A person may complain that he is not “welcomed” or befriended by others. He may complain about the attitude of other people in a certain church, youth group, congregation, school or section. How should we deal with this? First thing is to look at ourselves. How am I as a person? Am I friendly? If I am someone who is not myself, would I like to be with me?
Evaluate yourself whether you are doing the extra effort to be friendly.
Reach out and befriend other people. To have friends, we must be the one to be friendly. We must be initiators. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.” You can Google tips on “how to start a conversation” or “how to maintain a topic.”
Remember, you develop character on the process.
By striving to change some of our attitudes, we grow. People call this “to adjust.” We may not be comfortable in adjusting but it creates uneasiness in us that lead us to growth. Well, not all stressors lead to growth, but if we have the heart to embrace them from our Sovereign God and work out to sanctify ourselves, hardships could turn to our greatest blessings for life.
Identify times when you are fake.
Honest to say, we often pretend ourselves if we are with some people. We may fake our emotions, put a mask, or deny what is going on inside. Whenever these things occur, be honest. Evaluate what you feel, identify what type of emotion it is when you are with somebody and prayerfully ask the Lord for guidance. Stay happy in Him and “He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:5). Identify what causes you to feel a certain way and search for solutions from His Word that will help you become an overcomer.
Bear in mind that having a friend is a great blessing, but being a friend is greater.
As children of God, we must be like Him. God did not wait to be loved first, but He Himself first loved sinners (1 John 4:19). It is in the very nature of God to be a lover. It is His character to love the unlovable, the undeserving, the rejecting ones and the rebels.
Without this character of God, we all are bound to His eternal judgment and punishment because of our willful sins against Him. In our unworthiness, He chooses to love (Romans 5:8). He chooses to be friendly. He chooses to give the first move, to love, to care, to save, to be gracious. And sinners become recipients of this favor of God that greatly should humble us down to the ground.
Being loved is life’s second greatest, but loving is the greatest.
In real life, biological children reflect the characteristics of their biological father. That’s the same with the spiritual children of God.
Those who were “born again” by Him in regeneration has this unstoppable (and unavoidable) tendencies to be like their Spiritual Father: in words, in actions, in manners, in conduct, in thoughts, in character, in likes and almost in everything. In other words, loving others no matter how unlovable they are is a character of the true children of God.
Friendships are sacred relationships.
Connections that we have built through this life are a reflection of the Holy Trinity. God is a Triune God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are an eternal fellowship before the foundation of the world. They exist as one, they are One (1 John 5:7, John 10:30). The same way in our human relationships, we must also be reconciliation and unity agents of the brethren.
Friendships are like that of a husband and wife.
When you build friendships, remember that you are taking care of it just like you are taking care of your special someone, your wife, or your husband. It is to be nourished, to be taken care of, to be developed and to be nurtured. Do you love your friend? Here is a verse that describes the kind of love David has for Jonathan:
“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.” 1 Samuel 18:1-3 (KJV)
Love as you love your own soul.
How great a blessing it is to have someone who “loves you as his own soul!” Imagine how fulfilling life would be if you are surrounded with people who have this kind of heart. Most of all, imagine if you are the one who is loving that kind of intensity. As we study the life of David, could it be that behind his great successes as a king and as a warrior is mostly because of God’s instrumentality through Jonathan? In the situation here, you could be David or you could be Jonathan. Which one would you be?
True friendship is a gift from God.
Since friends are good gifts of life, they are from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). When the Lord pours down something as a blessing, remember to fully embrace it and take care of it. It will be for your own satisfaction and for the glory of His Name.
An emotional bond between two people.
Here is a mysterious event, “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David.” There was a sudden bond that occurred in Jonathan’s heart -an emotion that sparked the great friendship between the two. In our modern language, this is an emotion that the Lord sent to Jonathan’s heart that bonded them together. When this occurs to your heart, identify what the Holy Spirit is trying to impress to you, and prayerfully consider where He is leading you.
This list may not be that exhaustive, but if you are starting to make friends, start right and follow the Biblical perspectives. As for your friendships that are already established, continue to develop and nurture them. Always go back to them, bless them, and encourage them. As you grow closer to Christ, you are becoming more and more like your Spiritual Father. Be a blessing to your friends, and establish friendships with a friendless world.