As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. - Proverbs 27:17
My life before Jesus included a lot of unhealthy habits… partying was at the top of that list. But once I accepted Jesus, my lifestyle began to look a lot different. I found that a relationship with God brought me true joy and true fulfillment, and those old habits lost their appeal. The temporary fulfillment I got from those habits paled in comparison to this new life with Him.
But I ran into a really tricky problem… what do I do about my friends?
The friends I spent time with had been my friends for years. We did everything together, especially partying. But when my heart changed, I felt stuck. Am I not allowed to have these friends anymore because they aren’t following Jesus? For a while, I felt stuck in the in-between of life with Jesus, and life with them.
So I dug into what God’s Word has to say about friendship. He ended up completely changing my view of the word “friendship” altogether, and rewrote its definition on my heart. His definition. After time in prayer and earnestly seeking His wisdom, this is what He has taught me about friendship:
1. Friendship is meant to help us grow closer to Him.
Friendship has a purpose. Friends are not just people you hang out with a lot, or people who have the same interests at you. They are people who encourage and challenge you as you follow Jesus.
They uplift you with Truth when you’re going through trials, and out of love they remind you of God’s best for when you stray from Him. They rejoice with you, and pray for you. They are your companions in your journey with God.
2. Friendships give us an opportunity to show grace.
You’re not perfect. And your friends aren’t either. Even when you strive to love one another flawlessly, it’s likely that you’ll run into a disagreement every now and then. But those bumps in the road are actually really beautiful opportunities. Forgiving one another and learning from conflict not only reflects God’s love, but also strengthens your friendship.
3. Friendship brings joy.
True joy is knowing God. Anything built on His foundation will give life and withstand trial. Friendship built on Him will bring true joy. Your conversations will be uplifting and revolve around Him, and when you spend time with these friends you will leave feeling refreshed and encouraged. That is God’s intention for community.
So... I didn’t “ditch” the friends I had. After explaining to them how God changed my life, and how I was living differently, our friendship simply shifted. It was understood that I wouldn’t be around as much, because that lifestyle didn’t reflect my love for God. I still loved those friends, and they loved me too. But at that time, I knew God was calling me into deeper relationship with Him, and that meant surrounding myself with people who would cheer me on along the way. I stepped out in faith and He provided me with a beautiful community of women that have brought His definition of friendship to life.
1. Are the people I’m closest to encouraging or hindering my relationship with God?
2. What are some ways I can surround myself with Godly friends? (Hint: check out laneofroses.com/findcommunity!)
God, You are so good! Thank You so much for the gift of friendship. You are my best friend and all I need, but You created friendship with others so that I can walk through life with people who will lead me closer to You. Thank You for the way You move through friendship to strengthen our faith and help us grow. Help me to love my friends the way Jesus would. Please be present in my friendships so that they glorify You. Amen.