Think back on some of your favorite memories. What are they? What makes them so special? What makes these moments so memorable?
I would be willing to bet that in most cases, one of the things you remember the most about your favorite life moments is who you were with when they happened. Let’s face it: life is better with people who care.
Life is not meant to be lived on our own…
We need friends for companionship. We need them to help hold us accountable. But we also need support that can only be provided by other people–we need friends in the good times and the bad. Take this story for example:
Two campers decided to take a weekend trip. After spending a peaceful first night in the forest, they awoke ready for their day. As they were enjoying their morning coffee, the men suddenly spotted a very large, VERY hungry grizzly bear coming at them. One of the men quickly pulled on his running shoes.
“Do you actually think you can outrun that grizzly bear?” his friend asked.
“I don’t need to,” he replied. “All I have to do is outrun you!”
Through Thick and Thin…
Most of us have friends like the one in this story: they will stand by our sides in the good times, but at the first sign of trouble, they take off running–and in the process, leave us for the “bears”! But that’s not what genuine friendship is about. Check out this passage from the book of Ecclesiastes:
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT)
Did you notice how the text focuses on the role of friendship in hard times? Most of us want friends like the ones described in this passage–friends who will stick around through “thick and thin”. Unfortunately, it is hard to be a friend like that. Walking through tough times with others can be difficult! So how do we live out the kind of friendship described in this text?
Jesus sets the example…
If we are looking for an example of great friendship, we need to look no further than Jesus himself. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us:
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)
Jesus showed his dedication to us by giving his life to save ours, despite our sin (check out Romans 5:6-8). I’m not saying you will have to literally give up your life for someone. What I am saying, however, is that every day, you have opportunities to sacrifice for someone else: take a moment to listen, help someone out, provide a word of encouragement and more. Every day, you have encounters with people who are hurting and in need of the hope you have in Christ–which means that every day, you have the opportunity to impact someone’s life by the power of the Gospel.
There is no question that Jesus is the most loyal friend we could ask for. Most of us want a friend like Jesus, but we aren’t always willing to be a friend like Jesus. As we strive to reflect Christ in all we say and do, my prayer is that we grow in the love we have for each other–displaying the type of friendship Jesus displayed for us.
Put it into Practice:
Make a list of attributes you desire in a friend. How can you put each of those attributes into practice in your relationships? Challenge yourself to display the attributes of a good friend–especially those we see in Christ–as you go through your week.