We live in a world in which true friends are becoming increasingly rare.  Social media, smart phones, and a fast-paced lifestyle have made us approach relationships in an unhealthy way.  Few have close, Christian friends with whom they can talk about the important things of life.  This is unfortunate when one considers the value of close companions.  The Bible says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time” (Proverbs 17:17).  When you have a close, Christian friend with whom you can share life, you have a help for heartaches, a truth-teller during temptations, a comforter during crises, and a friend for all of life’s fallouts.  Still, some don’t see the need for companionship.  Consider four reasons why you should pursue friendship.

God made you for relationships. 

Genesis 1:26 describes the creation of the first man.  It says, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”  The use of the plural pronouns (“us” and “our”) gives witness to the reality of the Trinity.  God is one, and He exists in three persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  An intimacy and affiliation exists within the Godhead.  He has made us to be relational beings, just as He is a relational being.  Why should you work to develop close, Christian friendships?  Plain and simple – you are made for relationships.  Until you form meaningful bonds with others, your life will be a mere shadow of what God intends.

Jesus wants you to love others. 

When grilled concerning the Law, Jesus was once asked “What is the Greatest Commandment?”  Our Lord responded, “Love the Lord…Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).  We all have different personalities, and we all crave different levels of interaction.  However, we can be assured that we do need other people.  At the heart of Jesus’ teaching is a concern that we have a heart for others.  You can’t live up to Jesus’ standard if you aren’t living in loving community with others.

Discipleship demands it.

Shortly before ascending into heaven, Jesus gave the church its purpose.  He said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  Making disciples is the mission of the church.  Paul spoke of this mission when he instructed his preaching apprentice Timothy: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).  Training others in the core teachings of the faith requires open relationships.  Why do you need close, Christian friends?  Without them, you can’t help fulfill the basic mission of the church.

You need sharpening. 

At best, all of us are imperfect.  We all need growth, development, and maturity.  Each stands in need of improvement and repentance in differing areas.  The Lord has given us many methods for growing.  In the end, all growth comes by His grace (2 Peter 3:18), but the Lord uses different tools.  Relationships are one of the methods He uses for our benefit.  The Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  You need close, Christian friends, because you need sharpening, development, help and improvement.

Dr. Patrick Latham

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