How to have great godly friendships
Want to glorify God with your mates? Discover three ways to set up good relationships for life.
Good friends are precious. They’re hard to come by and even harder to maintain.
If we’re not careful, it can be easy to slip into unhelpful patterns of behaviour and lose track of being a friend that “loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17)
That’s why I’m encouraging you to start working some of these habits and patterns into your life to ensure you have great godly friendships right now … and for years to come.
Why patterns in friendships matter
We all know our friends can have a good (or bad) influence on us.
If all your friends play Fortnite, chances are, you too will want to play Fortnite. Similarly, if all your friends go to youth group, chances are, you’ll go to youth group as well. However, if all your friends (even if they’re Christians) don’t go to the Christian group at lunchtime, it’ll be a lot harder for you to go.
When I was in year 9, I spent every lunchtime with my two best friends. We used to love talking about sport, music … and sometimes church. The problem was that we would never speak personally about our experiences of church. This meant that our conversations stayed superficial and shallow.
Since I’ve left school, the three of us are still friends, but we still find it hard to go below the surface. The patterns we set up in school have stuck with us and are only recently beginning to change.
Three positive patterns for your friendships
Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” How could you put this into practice in your friendships?
Think about a Christian friend you have at school, (if you don’t have one at school, think of any Christian friend). Here are three ways you and your friend could spur one another on.
1. Pray for each other
Praying for each other doesn’t have to mean that you spend every minute on your knees in prayer. Instead, you could aim to spend five minutes praying for the other person one day a week. Don’t just say that you’ll ‘pray for them later’, do it when you’re with each other. This might feel a little weird at first, but it will be super encouraging for both you and your friend.
2. Check in with each other
Ask your friend how they’re going with reading their Bible. If they’re having a rough time with it, you could suggest you both read the same passage that night and talk about it tomorrow. If your friend is having a great time with their Bible reading, be encouraging! Ask them what they’ve learnt and how they think God is growing them.
3. Be curious and observant
Be other-person centred. Try being attentive to your friends. Instead of always talking about sport, the new Instagram filter or how fast you can floss, try to go beyond the superficial. If your friend is a bit quieter than usual, you could check in to make sure they’re doing okay. Make an effort to be curious about your friend. What makes them happy? What things are helpful in spurring them on?
Following Jesus’ pattern in your life
Jesus’ life is one of service – to the world and to his friends.
One of the crazy things Jesus does for his disciples is washing their feet. Have you ever been running around bare-foot for so long, that your feet have dirt caked on? Imagine that … but worse. Streets in Israel didn’t have sewage lines running underneath, they were dirty and smelly. Jesus cleans the feet of his disciples, his 12 best friends. He even knows at this point that Judas is going to betray him, and he cleans his feet anyway!
Jesus does the task that belonged to the lowest slave. Why? Because his life is one of service. His service didn’t stop at washing feet. And just a few short chapters later in the Bible, Jesus’ feet have nails running through them into a wooden cross.
Jesus’ love for all people is one of service and sacrifice. If he does this for those who openly mock us, can’t we do this for our friends?
Send this article to a Christian friend you care about today, and start chatting about some patterns you could develop to ensure good, godly friendships for life.