“We’ll get together soon. I’ll call you.” Those words gave me hope of making a new Christian friendship.
We’ve moved often and I’ve heard those well-meaning words often. Sometimes smiles and pleasantries exchanged week after week, month after month—but no phone calls and no get-togethers.
Sometimes the start of a potentially great Christian friendship sparked with a chat or lunch. I’d try to fan the flame for deeper connection, but it would dim or be put out by the distractions or busyness of one’s life.
Once again, I’d find myself sitting alone—an introvert in need of companionship during a very stressful season with no local Christian friends for support.
Texts and occasional calls from a few longtime friends out of state were helpful, but it just wasn’t the same as spending time with someone face to face. I needed intimate Christian friends beyond the broader community of the church.
I reflected on seeing groups of women laugh, hug and relive memories of their time together while I lingered on the outskirts of the room. I hid my longing to belong behind a half-hearted smile and “I’m fine” when an occasional passer-by asked how I was doing.
I wondered if something was wrong with me. Maybe I wasn’t interesting or fun enough. Maybe I didn’t dress trendy enough.
Maybe it was because I wasn’t comfortable enough to walk up to a circle of chatting women to introduce myself or start a conversation.
Once, I found the courage to tell a church fellowship and outreach coordinator that I had yet to make any Christian friends.
I wish she would’ve noticed that even though she was busy making plans for ministry, my lonely heart was an opportunity for ministry right in front of her.
Hearts Longing for Christian Friendship
Coming out of a season of trials, I knew that having even one close friend to hold my heart that was in despair and hold my hand in prayer would’ve made a big difference. I prayed for God to help me find Christian friends.
In time I felt Him leading me to no longer wait for others to pour love into me but to step out of my comfort zone and pour His love into others.
Having more courage to write online than speak up in person, I decided to become more active on social media and devote myself to encouraging others.
To my surprise, I started to see several posts from women saying they felt alone in their struggles. Their hearts were longing for Christian friendship just like mine.
I began responding to posts as I felt led to by the Spirit. I did my best to meet their needs for listening, support and prayer. Over time some even became close friends.
Choosing to grow in expressing God’s love helped me to nurture Christian friendship for both myself and others.
What is the Purpose of Christian Friendship?
A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:17a (NIV)
God is love. His love fills us so that we can let it flow out into the lives of others. God’s love shows up in our lives through His grace, faithfulness, provision and so many promises available to us every day. And this love is not earned by anything that we have done but given freely just because of who He is and who we are.
The purpose of Christian friendship is to share God’s love with one another. This is not just so that we can feel that love, but also so that we can grow together and fulfill our individual purpose in the Kingdom.
With our hearts in the image of His, there are so many benefits that come from walking together in love.
4 of the Purposes Godly Friendship can Serve in Our Lives:
- Accepting you just as you are. It is so easy to feel like you are not good enough or you don’t belong in a world that is so busy and filled with comparison. But in the sight of God, as well as in the presence of a Christian friend, you can feel loved unconditionally and valued just as God made you. A friend will listen to you deeply, see you completely, and still love you fully.
- Abiding with you at all times. No matter the season of life, whether you are celebrating or struggling, a Christian friend will be right by your side, even if they can’t be with you in person. You will never feel alone on your journey or like you have to pretend to be someone you’re not.
- Providing advice and accountability for growth. One benefit unique to Christian friendship is that they will always point you back to God’s Word and will. Having a like-minded companion to walk through life with, especially during struggles, will help you not to drift toward the world’s answers to life’s questions. A friend in Christ can give you wise counsel and hold you accountable to stay on track in your spiritual walk, practical goals, and pursuit of your purpose.
- Uplifting you in all aspects of your being. Christian friendship provides a safe and sacred space to encourage and support you spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. A friend will strengthen your spirit when you feel weak, encourage your heart when you feel down, speak truth to your mind when you feel doubt, and provide help for physical and material needs when they are able. Your whole being and life can be blessed by the love of godly friends.
Even if someone is not in our closest inner circle or a best friend, the body of Christ is purposed to love another as we are loved by God. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)
To be faithful to His calling in our lives, we must slow down and pay attention to the people around us, as well as to God’s leading so that we can bless others with the benefits of Christian friendship.
Steps to Nurture Christian Friendship
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)
God calls us to devote ourselves to loving people and meeting one another’s needs even if we must set aside our own at times. It might not always be comfortable or convenient. It may require extra time and effort in the middle of our routines and busy lives.
Jesus told his disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14 NIV) We are friends of Jesus and should be friends with one another as part of God’s family.
As we grow in our love for God, His love will reveal those around us with whom we can nurture Christian friendship.
As your heart overflows with His love, the following four steps will help you LOVE others so they don’t feel alone on their journey.
4 Steps to Nurture Christian Friendship
1. Look for those needing friendship
Create a lifestyle of prayerfully looking and listening for those who may need friendship. Find opportunities to get to know hearts on a deeper level. Genuinely listen, understand and serve.
2. Overcome fear of the unknown
Give your concerns to God about wondering what to say, if you have anything in common or if you’ll like each other. God will take care of the details for His purposes.
3. Value your time investing in others
The impact of your time spent with people shouldn’t be underestimated. When someone feels they aren’t alone and that they belong and have value, their hearts begin to fill with love and hope that they in turn can pour into others. Honor God by making it a priority to set aside time to love His people.
4. Embody the many facets of God’s love
God will guide you in expressing His love in the ways that fit who you are and the needs of each person and situation. As the Spirit leads, help to meet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Often an open heart and listening ear is enough to make a big difference in someone’s life.
Being devoted to growing in and pouring out God’s love will nurture intimate Christian friendship in your life and the lives of others in God’s family.
“And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.”
1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV)
My hope is this will help you nurture your Christian Friendships! Would love to hear from you in the comments.