The last few months have redefined epic adventure in my dictionary. From travel hacking Italy with a colleague to a surprise engagement trip in the mountains of North Carolina, I’ve been overwhelmed with God’s blessings and the people He’s placed in my life.
However, there’s a difference between amazing people and iron-sharpening people. I’m grateful mine qualify as both, but as we’re choosing friends to do life with, we should consider some important questions.
Do they point you to Christ?
There are plenty of people in this world who model ingenuity, bravery, kindness, and adventure. From the world’s standpoint, they personify the ideal. These charismatic people attract a crowd, and although they can be generous and inspirational, they’re missing the main thing.
Without a personal relationship with God, a person with everything the world has to offer has nothing of lasting worth.
Do the people in your tribe encourage you to have a closer walk with God? Do they keep you accountable and ask you to do the same for them? Beyond that, do they pray for you and with you (James 5:16)?
We need to surround ourselves with Spirit-filled friends who strengthen our faith and won’t let us settle for status quo.
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen the rescue kitten that now runs my house (only partially joking there).
Good news is that low-to-no budget toys are often what makes kitty happiest. The other day, Mom gifted my little Ness with a red crochet strand with a jingle bell at the end. Turns out, it once belonged to some Christmas socks my great-aunt made me … a long time ago.
Despite the years, those three strands remain tightly knit together, at least until my kitten gets the best of them.
In the Bible, Solomon uses the visual of a three-strand cord to visualize why we need strong friends in our lives. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says,
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (NIV).
This verse reminds me of Proverbs 27:17 which talks about an “iron-sharpening” friend. A true friend challenges us to be better, lifts us up when we’re low, and stays with us during tough times.
How can we be this type of friend in return?
Stay in touch, and spend “face time” (not the app) with them. This point may seem obvious, but as we graduate from school and get older, keeping in touch gets harder. The distractions of life and social media don’t help. To be a good friend, let your friends know you’re there for them.
Ask how you can be praying for them, and then faithfully present their needs to the Lord.
Talk about God’s Word with your friends. Share what you’re learning or reading. If you can, join a Bible study or Sunday school class together.
Look for opportunities and ways to bless them. You could do something as simple as picking up a bouquet of flowers, treating them to coffee, or offering to babysit (or kitty-sit, in my case). Speaking from personal experience, I’m incredibly grateful for my amazing friend who watches my fur baby when I’m out of town!
A good friend is one who trusts, understands, gives space, and is willing to speak honestly into your life. – Building Your Strengths
Are we that kind of friend?
A fictional example
In my prequel to The Revisionary called A Cord of Three Strands, Portia makes a pact with her brother Darius and best friend Luther to stick together like the three-corded rope they use for a fishing anchor. They understand that they’ll be stronger if they watch out for each other. Little do they know what forces are at work to tear them apart.
I’d like to share this novella in e-book format with you! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, subscribe using the pop-up to receive your free copy. If you’ve already subscribed and would like to receive the novella, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send your electronic copy.
Parting thought: How can we be the type of friend God wants us to be?