Today, Dr. Charles Stanley gave a sermon on friendships that touched me–he spoke of many friendships in the Bible. Through the years I’ve struggled with cultivating life-long true friendships. I felt like I gave my all while certain friendships didn’t reciprocate. I was always in search of friendships of quality and equality. I hung on to Dr. Stanley’s every word and took notes. I hope these notes will shine a light for you as it did for me.
Can you name one friend who genuinely loves you? (one who prays for/with you, build you up) Casual friends are plentiful, but intimate friendships take time to build. “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
- Even though friendships are in the plan of God’s will for everyone, it is possible to choose the wrong friends. “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” (1Corinthians 15:33)
- It is also possible to form wrong friendships. “He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.” (Proverbs 29:3)
- How we choose our friends is a spiritual decision “When people show you who they are, believe them.” (Maya Angelou)
- We must never underestimate the power of friendships and its impact in our life.
Benefits of Friendships:
- They Delight us
- They Develop us
- They Drive us (from God’s perspective)
Friendships can also:
- Disillusion us
- Distress us
- Drag us down (we all have to live our lives sensitive to God’s will. Co-dependence can hinder friendships. God wants us to be independent of each other)
- Destroy us
Friendships have a valuable part of our lives; it’s a wonderful gift from God.
What to expect when we build wise friendships:
- Sacrificial Love – “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
- Inner Change (we learn from one another)
- Intimacy (takes time to cultivate)
- Security (dependable & trustworthy)
- Spiritual Grown (as we build relationships with others, we build our relationship with God).
How do we build wise friends? We build wise friendships when:
- We share a deep common interest
- When the goal is to meet the needs of the other person rather than our own
- When we are willing to risk rejection and pain in order to develop the relationship (We must be willing to be hurt and misunderstood)
- When we can love sacrificially
- When we can be open and transparent about ourselves (We must confess our wrong doings with honesty). Hiding things from each other is never good!
- When we can serve the other person joyfully
- When we can ask for forgiveness and be forgiving
- When we can accept criticism and praise gladly
- When we are committed to the spiritual growth of the other person
- When the principles of God governs over conduct
- When our loyalty to the other person is unwavering