Every December I start to reflect on the last twelve months. Since my birthday is also in December, it is supposed to be a time for me to think about what I have learned and what I still need to work on. It usually becomes a time for me to make a mental note about all the things that I did not get to do. However, this December was quite different for me. Not only did I review the past year, but I did a review of my life to date.
I could see where God had been working in my life through the people He had purposely placed there. Some He allowed to come to me a long time ago; some just came my way in the last six months; and others, He purposely removed. All of them served a divine purpose: for me to grow closer to Him.
Kindergarten was a very exciting time for me. I loved school but I was really looking forward to having lots of friends. As an only child, I was becoming bored with playing by myself all the time. I couldn’t wait to be on the playground, sit with my classmates at lunch and be invited to birthday parties. Unfortunately, things did not happen as I hoped or even imagined. I often wonder why, but a deeper reflection revealed that I did have one friend, named Scott.
He did play with me on the playground, and we sat together at lunch. I recently ran across an old scrapbook and discovered a picture of him holding my new baby sister. Somehow his friendship wasn’t enough during that time. It just seemed as though some of the other kids were more fun, more popular, more everything. From that point, my journey for friends began.
For years, far into my adulthood, I was on a constant search for friendship. This pursuit was very much like an Indiana Jones adventure filled with new discoveries, harrowing rides, some disappointments and some interesting experiences. But it wasn’t until I decided to pursue a friendship with God that I learned to recognize true friendships.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes are the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” Psalm 19:7-8.
In the above scripture, my focus is on these words… “making wise the simple.” Until I understood the importance of God’s word in my life, everything I was striving to do, to be and to have could never be at its full potential. Relationships with others would seem meaningful, but not as meaningful as they could be with godly wisdom as the foundation.
Once I asked God for wisdom and He showed me what my true focus should be (James 1:5-7). As I grew in wisdom, so did my relationships. I was also able to recognize the true friends whom God had placed into my life. Turns out that I had more “Scotts” in my circle than I initially thought.
A few things to consider as you consider your friendships:
True friendships are open and honest even when it may hurt.
Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of the enemy are deceitful.”
There is no doubt that anything that caused a wound, probably hurt and the scar is there to remind you of the injury. Unless you are just a bad person, I don’t think anyone wants to intentionally hurt someone. I think that is how the term “politically correct” came about. It is a whole methodology of dealing with an issue without hurting someone’s feelings.
But there is a time when there is a need for truth, and it can be very painful. A real friend will not shower you with only kisses and compliments because sometimes you may have overreacted, mishandled something or said or did something that you shouldn’t have. Take a minute to consider the source in some areas. Can you tell those who are for you and those who aren’t?
Great friends challenge you to be better.
Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Good friends, make you better. No bladesmith is going to sharpen a knife on some butter. It won’t do the knife any good. A knife is only going to get sharper when it is put against something equally as sharp. If you have people in your life that are not making you sharper, wiser, or better then you may want to ask why.
The very best friendship is the friendship you have with God.
Exodus 33:11 – “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”
James 2:23 – “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” And he was called God’s friend.”
John 15:13-14 – “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
These three passages describe what a real friendship looks like. There is intimacy, trust and belief. When God spoke to Moses, there was no pretense or separation. God promised Abraham some seemingly improbable things and Abraham believed Him. Jesus tells His disciples what true friends do for another.
To be a friend of God, is to be honest, to believe in Him and keep His commandments. I am extremely grateful to God for the people He placed in my life and the friendships that I have obtained. I am most grateful for His friendship. I thank Him for loving me enough to want to have a close relationship with Him.
I pray that if you don’t have a friendship with the Lord, that you will pursue it. It will absolutely, positively change your life.
Andrea Smith is happily married to Alex Smith Sr. and they both have 3 children - Alex Jr., Alexa, and Anderlyn. She was raised in Memphis, TN and received her college education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Andrea enjoys running and studying God's word.