I love friendship, don’t you? Camaraderie, memories, laughter, shared heartaches and struggles. Friendship is a gift that I’m thankful the Lord created. But so often we struggle in friendship, don’t we?
We want good friends, and it’s a good desire. Sometimes we struggle to find friends. And even in friendship, we experience loneliness, tension, and sometimes we hurt each other. Even still, we want friends!
But I’ve become convinced of something through the years regarding friendship, and it’s this:
We aren’t going to be a good friend to another if we don’t first cultivate friendship with the Lord. And it’s there, in our friendship with Him, that He teaches us how to a be good friend to others.
Be a Friend of God, first
In her book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, Christine Hoover says, “…we tend to make people our gods. We look to them—at least I have—to know us intimately at all times, to meet our every need, to be there when we want them near, and to love us unconditionally and perfectly, when the map points only to God having these abilities.”
Can you relate to that?
I’m raising my hand! It’s easy to look to people for things the Lord intends us to look to Him for, and it’s a prickly place to find ourselves. When we don’t have friendship with the Lord, we begin to have subtle expectations of friends that are unrealistic. We actually want them to meet needs and desires they don’t have the ability to fulfill.
Listen to this beautiful verse–
“The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant”
The Lord, the Creator of the Universe, I Am, invites us into friendship with Him. Let’s take a step back to understand what it means to be a friend.
My good buddy, Noah Webster, defined a friend as,
“One who is attached to another by affection; one who entertains for another sentiments of esteem, respect and affection, which lead him to desire his company, and to seek to promote his happiness and prosperity.”
What a rich definition! And we are invited into that sort of relationship with the Lord.
The best kind of friend to have and to be is one whose first friend is the Lord.
Cultivate Friendship with God
What does friendship with God look like? I invite you to peer into the life of a woman who delights in a friendship with God:
She is attached to Him. Daily she is at His feet, drinking in His Word, taking time to listen to His voice, delighting in His heart. She talks with Him throughout the day, asking Him questions, confessing sin, weeping with Him over a heartache, delighting in who He is. She reveres Him. Desires His company, and she seeks to promote His glory.
As we— you and I—learn to be a friend of God like this, we learn how to be a friend to others.
Going back to Webster’s definition of friend, he mentions that affection is present. What is it that enables a woman to have affection for Christ?
Can I relieve your anxiety for a moment and let you know that affection doesn’t mean warm, fuzzy feelings? Webster again helps us understand that affection is,
“A bent of mind towards a particular object, holding a middle place between disposition, which is natural, and passion, which is excited by the presence of its exciting object. [A]ffection is a permanent bent of the mind, formed by the presence of an object, or by some act of another person, and existing without the presence of its object.”
To bend means to strain. It implies effort and maybe even discomfort. A woman doesn’t acquire affection for the Lord by happenstance. She bends, she leans into Him, even doing things that may feel uncomfortable, in an effort to know Him.
Sisters, we must treasure Christ above all else! But to treasure Him, we must make time to get to know Him. We must bend ourselves toward Him, straining to know Him.
For example, what if we begin to consider time alone with God a non-negotiable appointment that we will not break? Not out of legalism, but out of a heart that values Him more than anything else?
What If We…
Discipline ourselves to go to bed earlier so that we can wake up earlier to spend time in the Word and prayer?
Open our Bible instead of scrolling social media?
Ask Him how He feels or how He thinks about various situations we’re walking through, open Bible in hand, ready to listen?
Ask Him to help us find our keys when we misplace them again?
Rather than becoming exasperated when our kids won’t obey, we invite Him into the situation to help us?
Take a few minutes with a Bible verse, adoring Him for who He is?
Oh, how He treasures every effort we make to befriend Him.
And it’s here, in all of these big and small places of befriending God, that we learn how to be a friend another!
CS Lewis said,
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”
Friendship is a gift. Let’s be the kind of women who can befriend others because we have taken the time to be a friend of God.
That’s the best kind of friend!
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Kelly has been married to Blane for 15 years, with five children that keep her very busy. She’s a transplanted yankee married to a southern man, living the country life. Her first love is Jesus Christ, and she desires to joyfully walk with every crack and crevice of her heart aligned with His– a daily process laced with the reality of pain and suffering on this earth. She’s an avid reader, runner, and learner. Hospitality is one of her favorite hobbies, along with writing encouraging notes to others. She blogs at kellytarr.com.