Most of my closest friends are Jesus followers and most of the people whom I’ve instantly ‘clicked’ with are those who love God. Perhaps this is because we have something, someone, incredible in common. There is something so unique about Christian friendship due to the shared experience of the same magnificent God. You can share with people on your deepest level, to the very core of who you are, and you can experience incredible things together. But what does a Christian friendship look like on an everyday level?
When I think of Christian friendship, one of the first words that come to mind is vulnerability. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve sat and cried with my brothers and sisters in Christ, pouring out my heart, sharing my struggles, and allowing myself to become vulnerable with them. It’s impossible to truly love someone without being vulnerable. All you have to do is look at the Cross to know that’s true.
When two people are vulnerable with each other, it means they can connect on a much deeper level. When someone is being vulnerable with you, it allows you to love that person even when they’ve shared the darkest, scariest parts of them. But it also means that you can receive unconditional love when you’re being vulnerable, love that only dimly reflects the love of the Father. When you allow people to see the most difficult parts of who you are, you open yourself up to both loving and being loved on a whole new level.
A part of loving someone is edifying them. Edifying means to ‘instruct or improve (someone) morally or intellectually.’ In a Christian setting, you could say that this means pushing your friend closer and closer to Christ.
I know that I can love people best when I am completely in love with Jesus. And when I am completely in love with Jesus, I realize that the most loving thing I can do for someone is to encourage them to pursue Him daily and all that He has for them, even when that means encouraging them to choose Jesus over me.
In fact, a part of edifying your friends is becoming totally humble and realizing that you are nothing in comparison to Jesus. Every single day you should encourage your friends to choose Jesus over you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share with each other, have fun together, or support each other, but it means that ultimately you know Jesus is the One most worthy of our attention. And He is the only One who can give life, and life to the full (see John 10:10).
The Christian walk should be exciting. It shouldn’t be dull or boring. God is incredible, which means our lives should be full of incredible things. God is the great Giver, and he has ‘blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:3). How amazing is this?! God has equipped us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Surely that calls for adventure to begin. Romans 8:15-16 in the Message version puts it well:
‘This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.’
It’s time to get excited at the possibilities! Life with Jesus calls for adventure, and life spent with Christian friends calls for even more adventure. Who knows what God will do through you and those closest to you?
What about friendship in the Bible?
One of my favorite displays of Christian friendship is found in 1 Samuel 20: 41-42. David is about to flee from Saul; Jonathan, Saul’s son, became friends with David and is now helping him to escape his father’s wrath (Saul is not happy that David is going to take his throne). In this passage, we have a glimpse into the kind of friendship these two men had:
‘After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.’
Bowing was a sign of submission and respect, and here we see David doing just that in front of Jonathan, which tells me that submission and respect are two huge aspects of Christian friendship. But the part that strikes me the most is how they ‘wept together’. For me, this encapsulates all three of the points above - David and Jonathan are vulnerable with each other because they weren’t afraid to be real with each other, Jonathan edified David as he encouraged him in his onward journey to pursue what God is calling him to do, and they were both about to embark on one of the biggest adventures of their lives. They had ‘sworn friendship with each other’ and had not left each other’s sides since. They were committed, loyal, but most of all they pursued God together.
Christian friendship is messy. There are times when you’ll let each other down, hurt each other, and not do things right. But in Christian friendships, there is a hope that no other friendships have, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ.
When you both know Jesus, his love for you, and the never ending forgiveness and grace pouring into your lives, life gets a whole lot more exciting.
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.