For the past two years, this topic has challenged me more than any other time in my life. I have been challenged in looking at my relationships, and developing healthy boundaries for them. God has taught me how healthy friendships totally reflect his character. Learning to put God in the center of my relationships changed my life, and really is passionate about them being beautiful and fruitful! Friendships are something HE created in the first place!
What is your definition of friendship?
For a long time, I had an idea in my head on what friendship means and looked like. I felt a constant pressure to analyze my every move to see whose “friendship” I was worthy of, and whose I wasn’t. High School was a foggy time for me, as for a lot of people in this stage of life. I thought and believed that I had to earn the friends I was pursuing. I had to earn them with how I looked, dressed, and acted. It was more selfish than selfless. I was basing my worth on what “friends” I had or didn’t have. I was stuck in a habit of conforming to “transactional friendship”. In other words, “I’ll conform to how you want me to be and act, if you fill this void in my heart”. This, I soon realized, is not true friendship – at all.
People will know if your intentions ultimately are to serve yourself, and nobody feels loved when that is the case.
What is God’s definition and design for friendship?
God’s design for friendship is the total opposite of transactional. Jesus puts it like this: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus was a man who selflessly washed his friend’s feet. He put them before himself. His relationship with his disciples was based on a foundation of love and giving, rather than taking. He wasn’t doing these things just to get something back in return. He served, because He loved.
Take the dynamic duo, David, and Jonathan for example. It says in 1 Samuel, that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Their friendship was a covenant. Jonathan endured his father, Saul’s, anger and wrath to save David’s life. He would have sacrificed anything for David. He looked out for his best friend despite the difficult circumstances that surrounded him.
I believe that God gave us the gift of friendship so that we could have an earthly representation of our relationship with Him. God wants us to have fun with Him, and enjoy time together. He wants us to hang out with Him for the sole purpose of being with our Father, and not with the intention of expecting anything in return.
With any relationship we have, if we put ourselves first, it will result in a dissatisfied mess that we have to constantly clean up. Ultimately, being close to Jesus will bring us close to others, and give us a passion to serve them. We have to understand the importance of true intimacy. Our healthy friendships will then become of a fruit birthed from our friendship with our Savior.
Alexandra (USA), completed her DTS in November 2016, and is now on staff in our communications department here at YWAM Lausanne
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