Are your friendships godly or worldly?
Not every David has a Jonathan or Naomi a Ruth, but the Bible gives us clear steers on what makes a good friend. Are you fulfilling this role? Do you have friends who can reciprocate?
When we think of godly friendships, certain biblical partnerships spring to mind: Naomi and Ruth, David and Jonathan, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and his disciples, and Paul and Timothy, to name but a few. What makes these friendships successful? How can we be sure that we are modelling godly friendships and attracting the right sort of friendship in return? Let’s take some inspiration from some of these Bible greats.
Naomi and Ruth
As well as being related by marriage, Naomi and Ruth became best friends and loyal companions. This beautiful relationship goes to show that there are no age constraints on godly friendship, and that faithfulness pays off. Ruth promised never to leave Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17), and she was as good as her word. How committed are your friendships?
David and Jonathan
The Bible says that there was an immediate bond between these two men, and that Jonathan loved David as he loved himself (1 Samuel 18:1-3). He was prepared to sacrifice the crown and even his life for the sake of his friend. Are you prepared to make sacrifices for your friends, and vice versa?
Elijah and Elisha
Elisha stuck fast to his mentor, Elijah, promising never to leave his side until death parted them (see 2 Kings 2:2). True friends stay for the whole journey, through the good times and the bad. Are you prepared to lay aside your own wants and desires to support your friends in their endeavours?
Jesus and his disciples
While there may have been a few flaws in the relationship between Jesus and his disciples (on their part, not his!), Jesus was committed to teaching, discipling, admonishing, loving and forgiving his friends, even to the point of death. As he said in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Can you emulate Jesus in your friendships?
Paul and Timothy
The friendship between Paul and Timothy was one of father and son; mentor and mentee. Paul was committed to teaching and equipping Timothy to succeed in his own ministry, and then to spurring him on as Timothy stepped up to the plate (see Timothy 6:12). Are you encouraging your friends to fulfil their God-given purpose, and also allowing your mentors to teach and equip you?
Proverbs 18:24 says: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Choose your friends wisely, and emulate Christ!