So who is a friend? A friend is someone who you know well, who you can trust and confide in, who you seek counsel from and whom you share common interest with. These are a few things that make a friendship or at least a solid one. Friendship is very important, the bible talks a lot about friendship and how two are better than one - “two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has no one to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). At the same time, a friend can either lead you to sin or lead you to Christ. For example, the bible says that we should not be friends with angry people or hot – tempered people, or else we will learn to be like them and endanger our souls (Proverbs 22:24-27). Friendships are very important, however, what is more important is friendship or friendships with people that draw us closer to Christ. This type of friendship is called a godly friendship.
These are some things that make a godly friendship:
1. Friends that have a relationship with God: In a godly friendship, the friends have to know God and have a personal relationship with Him. “I am a friend to anyone who fears you - anyone who obeys your commandments” (Psalm 119:63). A relationship with God shapes a person’s character and the way the person relates to others (especially their friends).
2. Corrects: A good friend corrects when their friend is doing wrong. The bible says that the “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense”, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:9,17). It is so important to know that if you are going the wrong way you have a friend that will correct you lovingly. We should never take the correction from a friend as judgment because wounds from a sincere friend are better than kisses from an enemy (Proverbs 27:6). Only a good friend would tell you the truth, it might hurt (cause the truth hurts.. sometimes) but trust me it would be better than falling and having no one to look out for you.
3. An accountability partner: This goes hand in hand with the second point. An accountability partner is someone who keeps you responsible or committed to a certain goal. In the Christian realm and in terms of friendship, an accountability partner can keep you responsible to your commitment to God. That is your commitment to serving and obeying Him. So for example, if a friend is going astray then the bible says we should gently correct him/her - “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). In that way you have kept your friend accountable. An accountability partner can also pray and fellowship with you.
**Side note: It is important to know that not all friend(s) can be an accountability partner. Also we would all be held accountable individually for the life we live on earth, that doesn't change, so we should hold ourselves accountable at all times. However it is our responsibility as friends to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. An accountability partner will always keep you in check.
4. Encourages godliness: A godly friend encourages godliness. There are a million ways to encourage godliness. This can be through the advice a friend gives, is it biblical or worldly? It can be through praying together, the types of events that they invite you for (i.e. fellowship) or even the type of conversation you have (is it edifying your spirit man?). In a godly friendship, you should never feel like you are pulling away from serving God or you are not comfortable speaking about your relationship with Christ openly. “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
5. Trustworthy: A godly friend should be worthy of trust. He/she can easily be relied on and you can trust them to keep to their word. You know that whatever you tell your friend can be kept in confidence - A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence (Proverbs 11:13).
6. Forgives – “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9). One thing we need to understand is that we can get hurt by anyone, even our friends. It may not be intentional but regardless we have to forgive. A lot of close friendships are destroyed because of unforgiveness. If we want to be Christ like, we need to adapt the forgiveness trait!
7. Loves: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Love is the most important of them all. We should learn to love our friends the way Christ loves us!
As much as our walk with Christ is personal one, it is very important to have like-minded people around us that encourage us and also help us in our walk. It is very easy to fall in this world but like the verse says in Ecclesiastes 4:10, when we fall we are not alone because we have someone to lift us up. I remember when I started my walk with Christ, there were a lot of things I was confused about, having friends that were sold out for Christ was the best thing for me then (and now). I could seek godly counsel, encouragement and pray with them. This did not stop me from having my personal relationship with Christ. However, It was amazing to have like-minded people around me and it was very encouraging at that time. We should all aim to pursue godly friendships.