There are few things more precious then God’s gift of friendship. I think you’ll agree that women especially long for that special friendship where there is a deep trust and a feeling of complete safety. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find that you not only like one another, but you also relate and most importantly share the same belief in God.
It’s awesome and in that moment when you experience that wonderful feeling you also know without doubt that God himself has hand-delivered this beautiful friend into your life. He has personally blessed this new union and so begins that sweet intimacy you’ve heard me talk about… the beautiful combination of women and the word of God. It’s where a godly friendship experiences its birth, where His great power causes it to grow, flourish and ultimately glorify himself.
Recently, I read an article on the blessed friendship of Renee Swope and Lysa Terkearst. They shared the wonderful story of how they met, but what stuck out to me the most was two very wise commitments they made to one another in an effort to protect their friendship.
This caused me to reflect on the godly friendships that God has gifted to me and how I have at times left them unprotected and exposed to the selfishness of my own flesh and the evil desires of Satan. This careless exposure could and in some cases for me almost did lead to the complete break down of those precious friendships.
So, starting with the two vows made in the article I mentioned above I’ve devised a scripture inspired friendship protection plan. Feel free to implement this plan into your own God given friendships, I plan too…
1. Always believe the best about one another. “A friend loves at all times” Proverbs 17:17
Vowing to believe the best about one another at all times means trusting your friend with the pure trust from which your relationship was born. It means no matter what she does or says you believe her intentions towards you are good. It is glorifying to God to be a friend that loves at all times and if we indeed love at all times than we also believe the best of our friends at all times.
2. Never speak a bad word about one another to anyone. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:9
I think this vow goes hand in hand with number one. If you believe the best about your friend at all times you will not want to speak a bad word about them. From our heart comes our feelings and because of this our feelings will surely deceive us into believing less then the best about our friends. When we do that the need to be affirmed takes over and we discuss our feelings with our spouse or another friend. Whether we mean to or not a bad word may be spoken.
Once the thought has moved from our mind to our mouth it becomes truth to us even if it isn’t the truth. Worse then that we’ve slandered our precious friend.
Never speaking a bad word about one another keeps you free of slander and gossip which glorifies God. It also protects your friendship from faulty views of one another and the potential of very hurt feelings.
3. Pray for one another. “Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
What’s more special then knowing that your friend is praying for you? Know her strengths and weakness, her hopes and fears and pray for her. If you pray for her like this you will know her so well that questioning her intentions will be unnecessary.
I have a lovely friend that when I call to clarify what my intentions were just in case she misunderstood she says to me… “oh Heidi, I know your heart, no need to worry.” She blesses me every time. She doesn’t doubt my intentions because she knows me.
Praying for one another will give you an intimate view of your friends heart and there is nothing more sweet then having a friend that knows your heart beyond your words and actions.
4. Speak the truth in love and receive the truth in love. “…speak the truth in love…” Ephesians 4:15
This is a hard one, but God commands us to lovingly correct one another when necessary. I believe this can not be done without careful consideration and great prayer. If praying for one another leads to really knowing one another then knowing the right way to approach your dear friend in correction will not be hard. Even if the message isn’t received well she will eventually remember that she knows your heart and come around.
This is also why it is important to be a friend who is prepared to not only speak the truth in love, but to in turn receive the truth in love. My close friends know that I expect them to “call me to the carpet”, so to speak. If I was doing something against God’s word and they didn’t I would actually think they didn’t care enough to bring me into the light.
Being able to speak the truth in love and receive the truth in love is a defining characteristic of a godly friendship.
5. Keep your friendship grounded on the Rock at all times. "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
Just like marriage a godly friendship, if founded on the Rock and grounded on the Rock at all time it will be protected. If all other vows are broken at any time this one alone will allow God to restore your friendship that has been broken and being restored by God it will be nothing less then stronger and wiser then it was before. It will be blessed again, because that is the nature of our wonderful Father who loves us so much to gift us lovely friends.
I am praying for you, that you have experienced the joy of a godly friendship and if you have that you would be driven to protect it. It will not only glorify God, but you will be blessed and your friendship will produce living fruit and you will be equipped together to do the work of the kingdom. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12