Someone once said, “There is power in numbers.” We can accomplish a great deal with a lot of people. Take a look at the number of “friends” the average Facebook user has, and you might be impressed with how many people they know. But in many cases, it’s not the number of people we have around us, it’s the quality of people around us. (And just to be clear, I’m not recommending that you start paring down your Facebook friends list to only your top 10 “quality” friends.)
Imagine being in a military battle. It would be better to have 10 guys who knew exactly what to do, how to do it, were faithful and loyal to each other, and were willing to sacrifice in any way to accomplish the mission, than to have a 100 people who had little or no clue about what to do, how to do it, and they had little or no loyalty to each other, and were not willing to sacrifice in order to win the battle. It’s interesting that there are many similarities to this analogy when it comes to having and/or being a Real Friend.
We Are Made to Be Real Friends
Since we are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), we are by nature, relational beings. The purpose of God creating us is to bring glory to God in all aspects of our life. God can be glorified (given the right opinion of) because God is a relational being. Being created in His image and likeness includes the capacity to establish and develop a relationship with Him and with other people. This quality may come more naturally to some than to others, but all of us have a responsibility to live our lives in a way that communicates the nature and character of God, our Creator.
The good news is, not only can we have a relationship with God and others, we can have a Real Friendship with God and others. We can have relationships that go much deeper and are of higher quality than the average ‘casual friendships’ we tend to develop.
Real Friends Strengthen the Church Body
Do you agree or disagree with the statement? “People aren’t necessarily looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends.” Because we are relational beings by nature, it’s part of God’s design for us to want to build friendships and develop those friendships. A person who is not working on that area in his/her life is probably allowing the effects of the curse of sin to interfere with building and developing real friendships. This not to say that that a person who is not the friendliest person in the world is sinning (although that is possible), but those habits can become sinful because building relationships with others is primarily an issue of the heart. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Simply put, we are what we think. Since our thinking is cursed by sin, we need a source of truth that we can trust and depend upon and a source of truth that will never change so we can be consistent and faithful in bringing glory to God in the process.
As a pastor, I really want all of us in the church to strengthen our discipleship ministry by being the kind of friend Jesus describes in John 15. This can be done as we worship together, attend a Bible study (either in our Adult Bible Fellowships or a small group study), or as we serve together and work at “Living Life Together” for God’s glory and the good of the church.
The Foundation for Real Friends
The words of Jesus are the foundation of our effort to be a real friend, “Love one another as I have love you.” Jesus loved His disciples and the people around Him (Matthew 11:19). Our friendships grow out of God’s love for us. We are able to love Him (which is the 1st and greatest commandment), and to love one another (which is the 2nd greatest commandment) because He first loved us. However, we have to be careful not to love everyone in general and loving no one in particular – that approach to building friendship does not represent the life of Christ or His love for us. We have to be willing to get outside our “comfort zone” and develop new relationships with other people, and learn to be a real friend. Jesus made it clear, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
- Who is willing to die for you? These are your real friends!
- Who are you willing to die for? That would make you a real friend!
Next time, we’ll talk about what a Real Friend looks like!