“In the beginning of time, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

After God had created the heavens and earth and everything in it, God created mankind in his image.

“in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”Genesis 1:27

God is a relational God. He created men and women in His image to be relational, not only with other humans but also with God. Our love and friendship with others should reflect how God loves us.

God created us as relational beings who need friends who can support us as we support them. Scripture shows us the importance of healthy friendships and what God expects of us in being friends with others. Scripture warns us to choose our friends prayerfully and carefully.

“The righteous choose their friends carefully” (Proverbs 12:26).

Those who do not know Jesus will often choose friends based on money, status, and what their friends can do for them to elevate themselves up some social ladder. For most, gaining many friends is a sign of one’s popularity. Most of those friendships are unhealthy in the long run.

Paul taught, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Being a true, godly friend is not easy, but it brings immense joy and fulfillment. True friends remain for lifetimes. It sometimes takes commitment, sacrifice, and hard work to pour into others when we don’t feel like it or have our own stuff to worry about. Being a good friend is a daily God-directed choice to give to others in a healthy, not codependent, way. Others will be drawn to a greater dependence on God through a godly friendship.

A true friend:

  • shows love, no matter what. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
  • gives heartfelt advice, bringing joy to the heart. “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (Proverbs 27:9).
  • will be there to help when a friend falls. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
  • rebukes when necessary, but the correction is given in love.” Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:5–6).
  • influences, enlivens, and sharpens. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
  • avoids gossip. “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
  • builds others up. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
  • is trustworthy. “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Proverbs 11:13).
  • forgives and does not hold grudges. “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9).
  • is loyal. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
  • Pray for each other. “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9).

True friends grow with us over time. The more time spent together experiencing life and sharing thoughts and concerns, the stronger the bond. Having a few close friends we can trust today is good, but earthly friendships don’t last forever. People change, move away, and die. There is, however, one true friend who never changes, does not abandon, and lives forever. His name is Jesus! When we put our trust in Him, spend time with Him in prayer, and experience His presence during our days, He will become our true friend. The idea of the God of the Universe wanting to be our friend is outrageous. It is too much for our finite minds to take in that The Sovereign, Holy, and Saving God chooses to be a true friend to those who believe.

Jesus is the definition of a true friend.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7,8).

Jesus says,” Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 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 learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).

Through trusting and obeying God, we are not only God’s friend but also His child. He chose to adopt all believers with all the rights and privileges that come with being part of His family.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:3–5).