This week you can find me over at Christianity.com writing on the topic of true friendship. The things I learned turned out to be more difficult than I expected.
While doing a study on accountability I came across a few articles about the seriousness of friendship, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
We tend to use the word “friend” quite carelessly. Any person we have a few conversations with, work with, or “like” on Facebook we call “friend.” This is not necessarily bad, but through it, I believe, we are losing the real meaning of Biblical friendship.
“To become another's friend in the true sense—is to take the other into such close, living fellowship, that his life and ours are knit together as one. It is far more than a pleasant companionship in bright, sunny hours. A genuine friendship—is entirely unselfish. It seeks no benefit or good of its own. It does not love—for what it may receive—but for what it may give. Its aim is "not to be served—but to serve" (Mark 10:45).” J.R. Miller
Do you know how your “friends” are doing? How their hearts are? The spiritual condition of their soul? If we have no idea how our “friend” is doing in their walk with God, what difficult times they are going through, or the sins they struggling with, we have a superficial acquaintance, not a friendship. Maybe friendships are in low supply these days because of the cost of being a friend. Let’s take a moment to count the cost of friendship.
1. It costs personal convenience
We often think of friendship as hanging out and having fun. And that’s a part of it. But the test of our love comes when our friend wants to do something, or needs something from us, that is not so fun. This is when we must be willing to put our personal preferences aside and value others as more important than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). Maybe they are going through a hard season and they need us to listen. Perhaps they need a favor that we find difficult to do. Friendship can be a personal inconvenience, but when we call someone friend we are agreeing, as Miller says, to partner with them in life, "for better or for worse”.