When we are young children, it is mostly our parents/guardians that shape us, but as we age, it is our friends that primarily take on this role.
Two Categories of Friendship
Proverbs 13:20 reads, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
This verse could be misinterpreted to mean that we should only have Christian friends. That’s not the case. The verse teaches that we should have both Christian and non-Christian friends, however, our Christian friends should advise us on how we should walk/live and we should show our non-Christian friends how to walk/live.
We need friends in both categories. When it comes to our friendships, we should be simultaneously learning and teaching, being poured into and pouring out, receiving and giving.
Now, to focus on our Christian friendships specifically.
Hebrews 3:13 reads, “Encourage one another daily.” We all need Christian encouragement daily, why? We all face spiritual warfare every single day, and if we think we do not need daily Christian encouragement, we have no idea what we are up against!
Hebrews 11:26 reads, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” We also need Christian friends to remind us regularly that Christ is of greater value than all the treasures of the world! This reminder will help us remain focused on living a gospel-centered life.
You can read more reasons about why we need Christian friendship by clicking here.
Why We Lack Christian Friendship
Do you have Christian friends? If not, perhaps these four reasons below can help you identify why.
1. We Do Not Want Christian Friendship
Proverbs 27:6 reads, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
Christian friends tell us the truth, both about our strengths/accomplishments and our weaknesses/failures. They keep us in touch with reality and shatter our egos. However, sometimes we don’t want that type of honesty.
2. We Do Not Know What We Are Missing
Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
You can’t choose your family and your family can’t choose you, but you can choose your friends and your friends can choose you.
Family is supposed to accept you, sadly that’s not always the case, but it’s supposed to be. However, friends do not have to accept you, but they choose to! There is something special about being chosen, accepted, and loved when you do not have to be.
If you have never had that type of friendship, doesn’t it sound wonderful? If you have had that type of friendship, you know exactly how wonderful it is.
3. We Do Not Know How to Make Christian Friends
Proverbs 27:9 reads, “The sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
During Bible times, sweet foods were a rare delicacy, believe it or not, sugar was not always a thing.
The reference to “sweetness” in this verse is conjoined with the idea of Christian friendship (obviously it was Hebrew/Jewish friendship when written, but now it is reference to Christian friendship). Similar to how sweet foods were rare, life-giving friendship were and still are rare.
Making friends is not easy, neither is making Christian friends. Like stumbling upon rare sweets, Christian friendship is something that is more often discovered than forced. If you’ve discovered Christian friendship, congratulations you lucky dog!
Now, I will offer some practical advice. Just like you have better odds of finding a deer in a forest, there are some places you have better odds of finding Christian friendship. However, just like sometimes deer may wander into towns and cities, Christian friendship can also be discovered in unexpected places.
Nevertheless, Christian friendship can most likely be discovered at Christian colleges and universities, local churches and their various gatherings, Christian conferences, Christian camps, etc.
4. We Do Not Know How to Develop Christian Friendships
Psalm 103:15 reads, “A person’s life is like grass.”
Have you ever watched grass grow? Probably not. You could probably imagine though that it grows in a slow, ordinary, and boring manner. Christian friendship is like that.
However, there are things we can do to help grass grow and there are things we can do to intentionally help develop our Christian friendships. Here is how Romans 15:2 puts it, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.”
So, how do we build others and develop our Christian friendships? Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend loves at all times.” We are to continually love our Christian friends. We do this by continually accepting them, choosing them, forgiving them, being honest with them, and being there for them.
Even when it comes to Christian friendship, there is no such thing as an ideal or perfect friend. You will not be the perfect friend and neither will your friends.
Christian friendship should be marked with grace and forgiveness like the friendship Jesus gives us. It is a friendship that declares, “You’re always welcome in my life and when we let each other down, we’ll work through it.”