What Does A Friend Do?

What Does a Friend Do?

Sitting in a ball, not making eye contact with anyone, only the carpet – it’s safe to say I was a fairly distracted teenager. Debris of the constant construction and deconstruction going on in my mind was showing on the outside. I wasn’t very good at hiding it. I was in a crisis about definitions that I wasn’t having much success figuring out. No matter how it manifests itself, I think we all feel it: that disconnect between dictionaries and the world we actually live in.

It seems like some people have a really hard time speaking in healthy ways what they are actually thinking. Some don’t even think about being brave enough to ask honest questions.

What is Friendship?

“Friend” was a word that everyone defined differently, partly because everyone has different experiences. But even the mentions of friendship in the Bible can be confusing, and create emotional wanderlust for something more than the faces around us. David and Jonathan. Paul and Timothy.  Proverbs like:

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” (Prov. 27:6)

“A friend loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17a NASB) 

Those all describe a kind of friend I did not see anywhere. Until 2009. I didn’t even know what I was looking at.

She stands barely over 5 feet, but is oh-so-full of love and truth. A twenty-something woman invited me into her home, spoke openly and honestly with me, asking hard questions on a weekly basis. Questions like: “Why are you continuing to act like the Lord hasn’t been good to you?”, “Are your actions cheapening the grace of God?”, and “What gives you the right to think differently from what God says is true?” Now, those are condensed paraphrases from long, heart-surgery kinds of conversations.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend

She always sent me to the healing words of our dearest friend Jesus, validated me in the scary places, speaking kindness over my insecurities, listening to things about my family I couldn’t say to anyone else, praying for me, and patiently loving me in ways I could never deserve. She challenged me to go to God for definitions, to look and listen hard for the truth between that leather binding, rather than passively sitting in the storm of accusing, lying voices; because destruction will always come when you do that.

As I re-read these last two paragraphs, wondering if it communicates the depth at which she saw me, and what her friendship means to me, I’m humbled all over again. What a gift!

It seems like everyone is talking about “discipleship” these days. We make statements like ‘discipleship happens most effectively in the context of relationship,’ and ‘to disciple, you have to do life together.’

Friendship and Discipleship

Those things may be true. But I think both “friend” and “discipleship” are simple in Jesus’ gospel.

This is My commandment; that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. (John 15: 12-17)     

The love of God is powerful beyond all comprehension. I mean, it kept that girl inviting me over every week even when I physically hid behind her couch some nights.

Wherever you are on the scale of being seen (from curled into a ball of desperation to living in a healthy community of believers), you can trust that Jesus has already laid down His life for you, and called you friend. He will not leave or forsake you.

P.S. Meditating on John 15:12-17

–          What is Jesus’ command? What is the standard of that command?

–          How will we know if we are befriending Jesus?

–          Is Jesus holding back any special knowledge from us?

–          How much of what He hears from God the Father does he tell us about?

–          Why did Jesus choose and appoint us?

–          Where does friendship fit into the fruit Jesus is talking about?

–          What kind of fruit are your friendships producing?

–          Can we trust Jesus’ friendship? What does that mean, practically?

–          Based on the definition of greatest friendship given in John 15, is there any evidence to prove that              Jesus has greatly befriended you?

Joy's Profile Picture

Joy is a recent college grad and 2014 Precept intern. She is currently seeking out opportunities to serve the Lord in work and life, while learning what it looks like to focus more on Jesus each day.

ENCOUNTER-Student Conference

EQUIP- Boot Camp

ENGAGE-Intern Program

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it!
Icon Icon Icon

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required