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Jesus is the ultimate role model of what a friend should be. How can we be a great friend? How do we look like Jesus in our friendships?
In life, we all need true FRIENDS! People to laugh with, to get coffee with, to love with, to support us at sporting events, birthdays, new jobs; to be real with. We want these people by our sides in the seasons of total joy, excitement, and newness. We also desperately need them in seasons of chaos, confusion, and pain. Friends become our community and our family. We also want to be friends that people can turn to and become that community!
Jesus is the ultimate friend, hero, and person. We want to love others as He does. That is our main goal here on earth, every day! To love and befriend people as Jesus did.
So what do we do? How can we be a great friend? How do we look like Jesus in our friendships? I have a few thoughts and goals for us all.
I know what you’re thinking… “Really? Is this all you have? Of course, I love my friends..” I believe you! But I want to challenge you to love more and to love deeper. Jesus gives us one of the ultimate challenges.
“… Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other” – John 13:34-35
It is simply put, but so deeply complex. This is easy to do when a friend buys your coffee, sends you a nice text during the week, and shows up consistently in your life. But it gets challenging when you feel like a friend is absent in your life, unaware of what you’re going through, or is acting selfishly in any given circumstance. It is so easy in these times to take a step back and let bitterness begin to grow in your heart towards them. But Jesus pushes us to do MORE! He calls us to love them not because they deserve it (none of us do), but because when we genuinely love them. We show them who He is. This is our greatest mission; we want to love like Jesus every day.
When you find that friend that you can be real with, you want to encourage them in their strengths and challenge them in their areas of weakness. A true friend celebrates their friends’ strengths and accomplishments but is able to see that they are not yet a finished product. We want to see our friends’ blind spots and point them out in love! God has given each of us different ways of doing this. Some people point it out bluntly but convey their love at the same time. While others try to put it more gently, being sensitive to the person receiving the advice. However you are gifted in this area, pray for grace and love to cover your words as you speak into your friends’ lives. It is not always easy to hear about an area of weakness, yet it can be done with grace. One of my closest friends does this the best. She approaches me with love but is brutally honest. When she is telling me how I hurt her feelings or how I came up short in a certain area; it can be painful to hear, but it is SO necessary! She knows that I never intended to hurt her, but she still clearly communicates how she viewed the situation and listens as I explain my perspective. Because of her honesty, I am able to become a better version of myself, looking more like Jesus as I work at whatever it is she pointed out! It’s amazing! We never want to be complacent in a given area; we want to grow and achieve more. In order to do this, we need our friends to be honest with us and to challenge us each day. This is what we want to do!
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
We’ve all had (and probably have been) that friend who says they’ll be there, but can’t always follow through. We know how it feels! Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end, it doesn’t feel great. I think that in this fast-paced, busy world, we over-commit ourselves. I know this is something I struggle with! I want to be there for friends, and family, and the new girl I met at church or school. In reality, it is hard to be consistent when you have a big sphere of friends. I think that having lots of friends is a beautiful thing, but I would advise you to be careful about who you allow in your inner circle of friends. These are the people who you know the best and who know YOU the best. In order to be a great friend to your closest people, you need to be consistent. If you say you will be there, BE THERE! It means so much when you say you’ll show up, and you really do. It’s easy to fill your schedule and to get lazy in your prioritization. This has been a problem forever!
“Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving, but where on earth can you find one?” – Proverbs 20:6
People are searching for quality, consistent friends. Let’s be those friends to other people!
Watch as they step into God’s calling on their life!
There are so many ways to be a great friend, but our ultimate role model as a friend is Jesus! I hope this encourages you to take a friend out to coffee this week and love them, challenge them, and be consistent in their world! What a gift it is to have friends and to be a friend.
Here are some of the ways that we can think about walking out our faith in our friendships!
You are the one who shows us how to love, be a friend, and be a constant. You are those things to us. You love us and stay beside us no matter what. Tune our hearts to be more like yours. Help us love everyone around us well, even when we don’t feel like it. Give us the compassion and grace to push our friends to grow, and soften our hearts to receive the same feedback. Help us find our inner circle and stick with them. Thank you, thank you, for giving us the blessing of friendships in our lives so that we do not have to do life alone.
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