A true friend is a priceless treasure. That one who can laugh with you, cry with you, wonder with you, and stick with you in good times and in hard times. That one who is willing to consider your interest above their own. And, of course, you would do the same, because you have learned to value the fellowship and companionship.
This kind of relationship does not just happen. It is born out of practical, intentional desire that perseveres and stays the course. I have been privileged to have more than a few such friendships in my life, and this reality continues to be sound evidence that God loves me.
On more than one occasion, I have been inexplicably filled with the love of God for someone I would not naturally choose as a friend. Another evidence that God ordains relationships for His own good purpose. Interestingly, but maybe not surprisingly, these that God chose for me are some of the richest friendships I have enjoyed. He really is a good, good Father.
Mind you, there is work to be done in growing a friendship, even one that is ordained by God Himself. It takes dedication. It takes commitment. It takes practical application of spiritual truth. Even the best human beings are still frail, self-interested creatures, and without the love of God, we hurt each other, whether intentionally or unwittingly.
The Word of God is useful for instruction, and there is a passage of Scripture that has grounded me and born good fruit in my relationships as I have allowed it to renew my mind when a rough patch is encountered: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB)
This verse changed the way I pray and the way I respond to others. The discipline of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ not only sets us free within, it also impacts our interactions without. Choosing to focus on what is good and honorable has a way of diminishing the power of what is less than honorable. And it makes forgiveness, when necessary, an easy choice to make.
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (NASB)
The beginning and the end of the matter is the love of God. The love of God is not only poured out in my heart for me to know His love for me, but also for me to know His love for others. This strange and wonderful power, is both a source and a force.
Dear one, as you embark on the week ahead, let the love of God motivate your will to good works. Look around you at the ones He has given you, and put love into action toward them. Demonstrate love, and enjoy the blessing of friendship.
Until next week, beloved, let Our Lord’s friendship set the standard for yours.