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A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.Proverbs 27:19 TLB
The friendships we choose to build are a reflection of who we are.
If we don’t want to be challenged or expected to change, we will develop fake and shallow friendships. If all we want is to be better than other people, we will develop competitive friendships where everyone is a rival.
But if we want depth and growth, we will seek out friends who are honest with us, challenge us, and expect us to grow.
God wants us to have friendships that make us better. If we are going to grow and become the people he is calling us to be, we need to have meaningful, deep, and challenging friendships both with him and the relationships around us.
Friends with God
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough.  He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.  That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name.Psalm 23:1-3 TPT
Our friends’ role in our lives is not to meet our needs.
If we go to friendships to make us feel better about ourselves and meet our need for connection or intimacy, we will end up hurt, disappointed, and bitter. People are people, and no person is capable of meeting those needs. That’s what God is for.
When we make God our best friend, we feel loved, protected, and accepted. We don’t need people’s approval or praise because we always have more than enough with God.
Once you have this with God, you can begin to have friendships that are actually refreshing and meaningful, because you can help make each other better by pointing each other back to God.
- Do you go to people or friendships to meet your needs? How has this affected your relationships?
- What can you do today to make God your best friend? (make personal Bible studies, pray at cool spots that are just between you and him, pray about what makes you happy, sad and angry, etc.)
You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honesty, but your enemy’s pretended flattery comes from insincerity.Proverbs 27:6 TPT
Are you an honest friend? Do you tell your friends what they need to hear, or would you rather they just like you?
When we expect our friends to be great, we tell them the truth when we see them going the wrong way, even if it may hurt at first.
 “Peter, my dear friend, listen to what I’m about to tell you. Satan has demanded to come and sift you like wheat and test your faith.  But I have prayed for you, Peter, that you would stay faithful to me no matter what comes. Remember this: after you have turned back to me and have been restored, make it your life mission to strengthen the faith of your brothers.”Luke 22:31-32 TPT
Jesus was an honest friend to Peter. Just because he saw that Peter was going through a hard time, he didn’t use this as an excuse to let Peter settle and not push him to be great.
He had faith and vision for who he was capable of becoming and challenged him to be a better friend to others.
- Do you pray for your friends when they are going through a hard time?
- Do you coddle them and only say what will make them like you, or do you have vision for them, reminding them of who they are capable of becoming?
Believe in each other when no one else will
Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships.Proverbs 17:9 TPT
If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.1 Corinthians 13:7 TLB
Even though friends expect the best out of each other, this doesn’t mean they give up when their friends mess up or fail.
When we love our friends, we stick by them no matter what. We stick by them not just when they grow and succeed, but also when they fail and keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
We all need friends who believe in us even when we don’t deserve it, who pick us back up even when we’ve given up on ourselves. This is how God loves us, sticking with us even when we keep messing up, so we can do this with our friends.
- When was a time God stuck with you? How did that make you feel? What effect did it have on your faith?
- Who needs you to keep believing in them?
Friends help you stick it out
“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” “Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.”1 Samuel 14:6-7 NLT
Jonathan and his armor bearer were a team. Even though Jonathan wasn’t sure what was going to happen and had the potential to completely fail, he had the faith to stick it out, and his armor bearer had the faith to stick with him.
Jonathan had a vision that he got on his own with God, and even though it seemed crazy, his armor bearer believed in him.
- When was the last time God put a vision on your heart that seemed crazy, but you believed he would pull through for you?
- Do you support and believe in your friends’ dreams and visions? Do you know your friends’ dreams and visions?
Better together than alone
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.Galatians 5:25 MSG
When we have friendships that are focused on making each other better, we don’t really have time to be competitive. When our needs are met from God, we have the confident conviction that we are an original, that God made us who we are for a reason.
So there’s no need to compare ourselves to anyone because there’s nothing to compare! Rather than being better than our friends, we can become better with them. We have so many more interesting things to do with our lives than simply compete with each other.
- Do you compare yourself to your friends? How does this stop you from making them better, and vice versa?
- What purpose is God trying to call you to have together?
 For example, some people don’t have friends or family. But they are never satisfied with what they own, and they never stop working to get more. They should ask themselves, “Why am I always working to have more? Who will get what I leave behind?” What a senseless and miserable life!  You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.  If you sleep alone, you won’t have anyone to keep you warm on a cold night.  Someone might be able to beat up one of you, but not both of you. As the saying goes, “A rope made from three strands of cord is hard to break.”Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 CEV
We, too-the many-are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone.Romans 12:5 VOICE
None of us are meant to go at life alone. None of the accomplishments we work so hard to achieve are worth it if we don’t have someone to share them with.
When we look out for each other, building off each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other grow, we can have a purpose so much more together than we ever could alone.
- What dream/vision is God calling you toward? How do you need your friends to achieve it?
- Choose 2-3 people that you want to have a friendship with that makes both of you better. Talk to them today about what purpose you want to accomplish together!