The older I get, the less I think about making new friends and the more I think about falling in love and getting married. In college I worried about finding people to hang out with on the weekends. Now I seem to constantly think about how I don’t want just a friend; I want something more. Earlier this week I caught myself telling God that the new friends were nice, but why weren’t any of them tall, kind, Christian men with a thing for dry humor?
It was that “Thanks, but no thanks” statement that gave me a facepalm moment. Instead of asking for more or different things, I should be thankful for the friends God has given me. They are truly an amazing group of people, and it can be too easy to take those relationships for granted.
I cannot imagine my life without the phenomenal men and women I call my brothers and sisters in Christ. That might sound like a fluffy, churchy way to say it, but it’s true. Even relationships with family members are better when there is a bond of friendship. According to Psychology Today, friends mold and shape you as well as the world around you. If you are at all concerned with living your best life, you will need friends to help you do it.
I truly believe, that as a believer, having Christian friends is essential. They can help us grow by testing our patience (we’ve all been there, right?), and they can comfort us when it feels like the world is falling apart. Sometimes, our closest friend can even become the love of our life.
My argument for Christian friends is based on Paul. Look at his years of ministry: He always worked with or wrote about his friends. They travelled with him, corresponded with him, and helped him out when the going got rough. And because of the work they did together for the Lord, their relationships ran as deep as blood.
If you’re like me and recently found yourself wishing for something other than “just friends,” here are a few of the reasons I’m incredibly thankful for the friendships I do have—whether they will ever turn into something romantic or not.
::Godly advice is hard to come by.
My best friend and I wade through problems from “Does walking up the stairs cancel out ice cream?” to “What do you tell suicidal friends?” As a Christian, she is able to give me godly advice from a fresh perspective (Prov. 12:26). God has used her more than once to redirect my thinking and point me in a better direction than the one I was headed.
::They run the race with me.
Life is easier when it’s a team effort. A good friend will love you through every curve ball and U-turn, and they won’t drop out when you need them the most (Prov. 20:6). If you get tired and want to leave the race, they can encourage you to not lose hope.
::I don’t always like to listen to God.
God’s will can be hard for us to accept. I tend to believe that my life plans are pretty amazing and being told otherwise is rarely fun. If your friends are in tune with God’s voice, they can help lift you up after a tumble (Eccl. 4:9-12) and set your eyes back on the goal. They sharpen you even after you thought you were done being sharpened.
How have your friends changed your life for the better? How has God used them to do something in your heart or life?
If you know someone who needs to read this post, would you email it to them?
Photo credit: Chris Zielecki