FRIENDSHIP: GOD'S GIFT TO BLESS OUR LIVES
What It Means in Our Relationships with Others and with God
Life is to be fortified by many friendships. To love, and to be loved, is the greatest happiness of existence.—Sydney Smith
But...have you ever been lonely and longed for a friend and did not know how to make friends? We know that all the blessings come from God and he gives principles He uses to guide our lives...
What kinds of blessings do people miss because they don't have close friends? What blessings come when you and I do have close friends?
The Desire of the Ages, p. 148. "But the gifts of Jesus are ever fresh and new. The feast that He provides for the soul never fails to give satisfaction and joy. Each new gift increases the capacity of the receiver to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of the Lord. He gives grace for grace. There can be no failure of supply. If you abide in Him, the fact that you receive a rich gift today insures the reception of a richer gift tomorrow. The words of Jesus to Nathanael express the law of God's dealing with the children of faith. With every fresh revelation of His love, He declares to the receptive heart, 'Believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.' John 1:50."
Friendships between women begin when we are little girls. Girls play with their mothers and pretend they are "best friends." Childhood and youth are spent striving to find and keep a "best friend." There are many factors present during childhood and youth that assist us in developing and maintaining friendships. The school classroom environment places us in contact with people in our own age group.
At academy and college, in boarding schools, we are placed in intimate contact with people our own age and generally with people who share like interests. However, in our mobile society, and in the normal process of growth and development, many of us move away from our parents’ home and our family support system.
- Jobs take us away from our friendship circles.
- Our lives become busy with making a living, building our own families, and we find less and less time to cultivate friendships….
- We also find fewer people who share like beliefs, and like interests.
- If we are married, our best friend then must have a spouse who is compatible with our spouse.
Researchers indicate that becoming a friend is a skill, which can be learned, and that it has to do with a person's ability to love, to be loved, and to communicate love!
The Bible tells us that God is love. It tells us that God's greatest desire is to teach us how much He loves us. The Bible is God's record of how He has tried to make that love known to us, hoping that in turn we would respond by loving and trusting Him. It goes further to say that when we know God, we will be like Him. He is love! When we are love, others will be attracted to us, we will have friends, more than that, we will be able to make friends for God!
2 Corinthians 5:17-19: "Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into His friends and gave us the task of making others His friends also. Our message is that God was making all human beings His friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and He has given us the message which tells how He makes them His friends." Today's English Version, ABS.
Three principles for building friendships were found in several books on friendship, Making Friends, by Em Griffin and The Friendship Factor, by Alan L. McGinnis. Both authors developed a model for building friendships based on the principle of John 15:15, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I have learned from my Father I have made known to you." From this verse, it appears that even though friendship seems illusive at times, for the Christian, it is not an option, it is the highest calling! Jesus upgraded our relationship with Him. We are no longer servants—but friends!
- Communicate warmth
- Assign a top priority to your friendship
- Create openness in your friendship
Close friendships do not "Just Happen." When friendships develop, it is because we recognize their importance and devote ourselves to them. Close friendships can grow for those who assign them enough importance to cultivate them. It takes TIME to develop a relationship with our friends. And, it takes time to develop a relationship with God. We need to spend time with those who matter most.
God created an open relationship with us. He has made known all of heaven to us. He wants us to know Him. John 17:3 says that it is, "eternal life to know God." John 1:17,18 says that Jesus came to make God known. The whole plan of salvation is a plan to restore friendship between God and man by winning man's love and trust.
If you want to deepen your friendships with another—a friend, your spouse, or with God, create openness in your relationship.
From By Lou Blanchfield: Friendship: God's Gift to Bless our Lives seminar for GCWM
Ideas for beginning your own friendship evangelism ministry are listed on the back of this postcard from our Ten Ministry Postcards.