Strengthening Your Friendships
In chapter 4 of Disciplines of a Godly Young Man, we saw that friendship is one of the most important aspects of life, especially in the Christian life. Great friendships consist of love, commitment, loyalty, and encouragement, and friends must be disciplined—both in giving and receiving—in prayer, friendliness, affirmation, listening, and acceptance. Clearly, friendship takes work.
Friendships often form through common interests. You like the same sports, music, or activities, or you dress and act similarly. But the problem is that our interests change, and therefore friendships must be built upon a stronger foundation—there must be a real connection. Deep friendships move past the surface level of what you like to the root of who you are. This way, you are friends both because of a character and conduct, who you are and what you like to do. But still, there are possibilities beyond this for stronger friendship.
Friendship is strongest when there is fellowship. This moves beyond personality and interest to who you are in Christ and how you live for Him. Fellowship can be defined as the people of God speaking, sharing, and supply the things of God. The word literally means “sharing,” “partnership,” or “communion.” It’s “common participation in God.” Christian friendships find their unity in their friendship with the Savior, which provides deep roots of love, commitment, loyalty, and encouragement. In Scripture, fellowship is most clearly seen in the “one another” statements, such as:
R. Kent Hughes and W. Carey Hughes write, “It is not that friends think alike on everything. Often it is quite the opposite. But they do share the same core beliefs and approach to life. And this is why a Christian friendship exceeds anything that exists between those who are not Christians—for such a friendship is founded on a supernatural connection of soul” (46). As we saw in our reading, such was the friendship of Jonathan and David, for “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” (1 Samuel 18:1).
The path of friendship is twofold: you need good friends and you need to be a good friend. Guys, if we really want to grow in godliness, we must make our friendships a priority. You need their friendship and they need your friendship. Strong friendships don’t form overnight; it takes discipline! In what ways will you be a better friend?
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the bait of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).