Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Gift of Friendship ~ by Amy Vest

Do you love having friends?  You are normal!  I love having friends, too.

Ever since I can remember I have loved having friends.  As a girl, I would love playing with my friends and enjoying time together.  This area of my life took an amazing turn when I was around 11 or 12.  The path that the Lord was leading our family on was going in a different direction than most of the girls I knew.  At that time, I longed to have even one friend that I could relate to, be close with, and enjoy sharing life together.  It was through that time of loneliness, that Jesus drew my heart to see that He was the best friend I could ever have, and the one who alone could satisfy the deepest longings of my heart that nothing else had met.  My life was transformed.  As I walked with Him, He worked in my heart to embrace my family as my closest friends and I tasted the sweetness of this gift.  After a while, He brought an abundance of friends who shared a similar love for Him and passion to live for Him.  Looking back, I would not trade this journey for the world.  I am so grateful that the Lord did what I needed to see that HE was what I was longing for, then drew us close as a family, and then brought other precious friends.  Since then, He continues to allow times of looking at my life to see if He is first – and I am so grateful that He does!  His plan in friendship is perfect!!!!

God has an incredible plan in friendship!  God is a relational God, He created relationships, and He has a special purpose in friendship that is meant to bless us and glorify Him.  God’s purpose for friendship is to help us in our relationship with Him – the most important relationship of our life – and in living the life that He has called us to live!

Someone once said, “The two things that will most impact who you are 5 years from now are the friends you keep and the books you read.”  Friendships are so critical.  They can either aid you in living the vibrant life in Christ that you were created for or they can destroy you.  It all depends on how you approach them, what kinds of friends you choose, and what God is able or unable to do as a result – in your walk with Him, His work in you, and His work through you.  It is so important to see that there is so much potential – for blessing or harm - in this!  This is an area that we cannot take lightly! 

I am so excited to cover this topic together!  As we do, let’s receive the Lord’s grace to embrace friendship for all that He intended as we look at some aspects of friendship together!

~ Jesus as Your Best Friend

You were created to have Jesus as your Savior, Lord, and the most important relationship in your life!  As you grow in knowing Him, you will find that He is the best friend that anyone could ever have!  He is perfect.  In Him you find all of the fulfillment, love, and security that you could ever need in a relationship.  Living in this reality transformed my life and will transform your life, too!  This is what we are called to and this will impact all other relationships in the right way.   
The amazing thing is, when you have found your fulfillment in Jesus, you are able to go into other relationships seeking to share the love of Jesus vs. being desperate to receive from them.  We see this played out in the 1st and 2nd Commandments, Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”  (Mark 12:29-31) When we first receive Jesus’ love and love Him in return, then He will fill us with His love to love people as He calls us to love them!

So, again we see that our relationship with Jesus is what is critical!  Other friendships are gifts from Him and tools to draw us closer to Him, but they become idols and sinful and can steal our joy when they take Jesus’ place as #1 in our heart and life.  When we are embracing our relationship with Him as we should, our other relationships will increasingly be able to be all that He intended!

~ Your Family as Your Closest Human Friends
Our family members are meant to be our first and most important earthly relationships and friendships!

God hand-picked the members of your family to be key relationships and powerful tools to know Him, be shaped into His Image, and to serve Him together! 

In Acts 1:8, Jesus said,  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Jerusalem was where they were, then Judea was the next closest area, then Samaria, and so on.  This is what it should be like with our lives – being faithful first in the relationships that the Lord has put right in front of us, and then being open to the other relationships He brings!  The Lord has given you a first-hand, life-on-life, 24/7 opportunity – to cultivate these relationships, be a witness in daily life, and live for Jesus together.

Your family members should be your top human relationships and mission field.  Your parents are powerful relationships that you can learn from, love, and support.  Your siblings are priceless relationships to invest in, care for, and encourage.  (If you don’t have a dad or mom, the Lord will fill that spot – Psalm 68:5.)

It is so important that we start here!  Don’t miss God’s amazing plan in family.  Remember, in these important relationships, it is important that you do your part and trust God for the rest!

~ Choosing Your Friends Wisely
Friendships have the powerful potential to push us closer to Jesus or draw us from Him.

In Scripture, we have a powerful example of true friendship in David and Jonathan - “And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.”  (1 Samuel 23:16)  True friends will do exactly that – strengthen us in our relationship with the Lord because we love God and love each other – and know that we will only be truly happiest as we are walking with Jesus!

I am deeply grateful for the relationships the Lord has placed in my life and used through the years to encourage, challenge, and help me in my walk with Him and this journey with Him!

As I write this article, I took a break to meet one of my best friends for tea.  We were able to share what the Lord has been doing in our lives, teaching us, what we can hold one another accountable for, and find out how to pray for one another.  I came away so encouraged, challenged, and refreshed in my walk with the Lord!

Choosing your friendships wisely is so crucial!!!  Your friendships will build you up or tear you down in Jesus and the amazing life He has called you to live.  Don’t treat this casually.  Ask the Lord for godly friendships and work to pursue them.  When you realize a friendship is damaging your walk with Christ, it is time to let that friendship go.  It is not worth the trade off.  “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”  (1 Corinthians 15:33)  Seek the Lord for wisdom and pursue the gift of true friendships that will bless you and glorify Him.

As you choose your friends and cultivate friendships, remember that there are levels of friendship and that it is important that you don’t just have lots of surface friends, but ones that you can become close with and really share the journey in a real way! 

~ Being a True Friend
Jesus left us the perfect example of what kind of friend to be.  All that we should be, we see in Jesus.  Can you think of some qualities in Jesus that we should have in our lives as friends?  He is: loving, caring, forgiving, patient, serving, etc. and so much more, right?

Just this morning, I was reading in John 13 and verse 34 was a beautiful picture of what we are called to, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  At the heart of friendship, is the heart and selfless love of Jesus, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)  It is being willing to pour your life out for those you love.  This is only possible when Jesus is living in and through you – you are experiencing His love and can share it with others!

This looks like a hundred different things in daily life: praying for each other, being there for them, an encouraging letter, text, or email, a listening ear, helping them when they are in need, speaking the Truth in love, laughing or crying with them… and so much more!   
Last night I received a text from a friend that the Lord used to speak Truth into my heart and encourage me in the life He is calling me to live!

Remember, too, human friendships are made up of two sinners.  We must be ready to show Jesus’ heart to one another – to forgive, as Jesus forgave us, love, as Jesus loved us, etc. and continue to seek Him together!  “A friend loves at all times…” (Proverbs 17:17)  

~ Evaluating Your Friendships
We need to look at our friendships and see if they are fulfilling the purpose God has for them - for our good and His glory!  “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  (Proverbs 27:17)  Our friendships are sharpening us – shaping us – either towards Jesus or away from Him! 

Let’s ask ourselves:
~ Is Jesus my best friend?
~ Am I being faithful in my family relationships?
~ Are my friendships bringing me closer to Jesus or drawing me away from Him and living the life He has called me to live?
~ Am I pointing my friends towards Christ or distracting them from Him and the life He created us to live?

So, we see the treasure that the Lord has given us in friendship for His glory!  As you look to the Lord, love Him as your best Friend, cultivate relationships with your family, seek the Lord’s help to choose friends wisely, and allow Him to make you into a friend that reflects His heart, He will do beautiful things in you and through you.

May the Lord bless you as you embrace the precious gift of friendship to His glory!

“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”  Psalm 34:3


We will be covering and expounding so much more on this topic in the video session, testimonies, and more in the month to come!  Please feel free to leave your comments ~ We love hearing from you and responding!


  1. Thanks for the reminder Amy! Having Jesus as my friend truly is fairer and more beautiful than earthly friendships.
    I enjoy reading your updates week after week. Thank you for being willing to encourage your sisters in Christ- it is so needed in today's culture.
    <3 Barbara

  2. Barbara,
    Jesus is truly the best friend we could ever have! I am so blessed by how you cling to Him as your best friend, sister. "...his steadfast love endures forever." (Psalm 136:4) It is such a joy to share Him together!
    Praise the Lord that you are enjoying the posts! The Lord is so amazing. It is a privilege to seek Him together!
    I love you,
    Amy <3