Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography (Creative Commons)
The adage if you want a friend you have to be a friend is true, and if you want a godly friend you must develop the traits of a godly friend.
- A godly friend places a high priority on spiritual growth. She will urge you to do what is right (Hebrews 10:24). She will listen when you talk about what God is doing in your life and will share with you her own personal testimony. She will encourage you to use your spiritual gifts for the Lord, and she will also partner with you in ministry (Acts 11:25-26).
- If you become complacent in your walk with Christ due to sin, begin following false teachers or believe the lies of Satan, a godly friend will correct, rebuke and encourage you. The rebuke and correction may sting, but you can know that your friend is motivated by her love for you (Proverbs 27:6) because she does not want anything to hinder your walk with Christ.
- A godly friend will pray for you (James 5:16), and she will pray with you when you meet together (Acts 20:36). A godly friend realizes that one of the greatest ways that she can build you up is through prayer. She will pray that you grow in wisdom so you will know God better (Ephesians 1:17), be strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16), be “rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17) and be “active in sharing your faith (Philemon 1:6). You can be confident when you ask her to pray for you that she will do so faithfully asking that the Lord’s will be done in your life.
- A godly friend knows you well and loves you unconditionally. She accepts you just the way you are (Romans 15:7) and appreciates the things that make you who you are – your personality, your preferences, your strengths and your limitations. She will patiently bear your idiosyncrasies and your weaknesses (Ephesians 4:2b).
- The one thing a godly friend will not accept is your sin. She will neither condone nor participate in your sin (Psalm 1:1). She will also not judge you because of your sin. A godly friend realizes that judging and criticizing you because of your sin is of no benefit to you and that it is not her place to judge (Matthew 7:1-5).
- A godly friend strives to live in harmony with you. She is not prone to quarreling or gossiping because she knows that these activities will divide the best of friends (Proverbs 16:28). She does not get angry easily (1 Corinthians 13:5c), and she is able to overlook offenses (Proverbs 19:11)
- When you have hurt her, a godly friend is quick to forgive. She understands that if she refuses to forgive you, her heart will not be right with God,(Matthew 5:23-24). A godly friend appreciates the mercy that God has freely given to her, and she is willing to share that mercy with you (Ephesians 4:32b). A godly friend not only forgives, but she forgets (1 Corinthians 13:5d) because she does not want to hold on to anything that could grow into bitterness and resentment.
- A godly friend is committed to you regardless of the circumstances (Proverbs 17:17). When you succeed, she will rejoice with you without becoming jealous (1 Corinthians 13:4), and when adversity strikes, she will not abandon you like fair weather friends will do when the going gets tough. During hard times, a godly friend will comfort you, support you (Galatians 6:2) and encourage your faith in God (1 Samuel 23:16).
- A godly friend is humble, and she is willing to do whatever is necessary to help you (Philippians 2:4). She would never expect repayment for her acts of kindness (1 Corinthians 13:5b). Her service is not motivated by selfish ambition desires (Philippians 2:3) or the praise of you or anyone else (1 Thessalonians 2:6). Instead, she serves you and others in her life to please God (Hebrews 12:28).
Things to Ponder:
1. What attribute do you most value in a friend? Do you possess this trait? If not, what can you do to develop it?
2. Do your friends make you a better person and Christian? Why or why not?
3. Are your friends better people and Christians because of what you contribute to their lives? Why or why not?
4. Who is your best friend – Jesus (John 15:14), the world (James 4:4), or a person that God has placed in your life? If your best friend is not Jesus, why? What do you need to do so that your friendship with Jesus has top priority?