As you cultivate godly friendships, focus on the four hallmarks of a genuine friendship.
First, friends are available to each other and do not abandon each other during difficult times. As we model ourselves after God's own words, we can say to our friends, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
Friends are available to each other and do not abandon each other during difficult times.
The second hallmark of genuine friendship is communication. Friends not only talk to each other, but they share their innermost feelings and listen to each other. A godly relationship is a haven in which we can be vulnerable and honest about our shortcomings and temptations. And in turn, our friend will keep our confidences and encourage us in our struggles.
Encouragement is the third key of true friendship. Friends are generous with their forgiveness, their praise, and their appreciation of each other. They speak kind, uplifting words to each other. When we falter, a friend will help us up and walk with us toward the right path. A true friend will lovingly correct us when we wander from God.
The final hallmark of genuine friendship is loyalty. True friends do not gossip, complain, or scheme against each other. They work together on the same team and walk together in faith and obedience to God. Our love for God pours out into our friendships as we love our friends sacrificially. "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:12-13).
True, godly friendship does not come easily. This kind of edifying support comes only through time and effort. We must share experiences with someone to discern if they are a true friend. Many times we find false friends who desert us in our most desperate times or who break our confidences. But through time and the Holy Spirit's discernment, we are able to weed out false friends from true ones and build friendships that will last through eternity.
Prayer: God, show me how I can be a better friend to those You have placed in my life. Show me the areas in which I can improve so that I can be a true friend to others. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith" (Romans 1:11-12).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Godly Friendships: LISTEN NOW