Skip to main content

First Thoughts

Celebrating God’s Good Gift of Friends

I give you full permission to mock me, but one of my favorite songs growing up was “Friends” by Michael W. Smith. It had good lyrics and a great tune, and I was fascinated by the idea of having friends forever “if the Lord’s the Lord of them.” I came to know this song right about the time a close friend moved away, and this brought me comfort as I grew in my understanding of the body of Christ and the eternal relationships that Christians will experience.

Friends are definitely a blessing from the Lord, and we can be thankful for these precious gifts throughout our lives. Out of the many things that can be said about this type of relationship, I want to highlight that friendship is hardwired into us as humans, and God has graciously given us instructions on how to be friends. What’s more, friendship is a way that we can bring glory to God. So, let’s take a look at this wonderful thing called “friends.”

Friendship Is In Our DNA

In Genesis, we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’” (1:26). The terms “us” and “our” reveal a plurality in the Godhead, and even though we cannot build the doctrine of the Trinity off one phrase, this verse points to the reality that God is three-in-one. The Trinity possesses complete unity and exists in a perfectly harmonious relationship of love because God is love (1 John 4:8). Thus, we can say that the Father, Son, and Spirit perfectly love one another.

What this means is that fundamental to the nature of God is that he is a relational being with a perfect relationship within himself. When connected to the fact that man is made in his image, one of the attributes that he shares with humans is the capacity for relationships. First and foremost, this is so that we could be in a relationship with him. But secondly, he made us this way so that we could be in relationships with others.

Thus, foundational to our creation is that we were made to be connected to other people: it’s in our DNA! The Bible is full of references to the different types of human relationships, ones like marriage (Colossians 3:18-19), parents and children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), work (Ephesians 6:5-9), and, of course, friendship. What this means is that we were made to be friends!

Friendship Comes With Instructions

Since we have been made for friendship, the Bible gives ample instruction on how to do it right. Colossians 3:12-14 is one passage that presents the characteristics of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love. These character traits help us know what to look for in good friends, as well as how to be a good friend.

When it comes to looking for good friends, it is important to remember that who you spend time with will influence the type of person you become. Paul wrote, “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33), while the author of Hebrews exhorts us to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). We should want friends with Christlike character who will encourage and exhort the same in us so that we grow to be more loving and patient, humble and kind.

Yet even before we look for good friends, I think priority must be given to being a good friend first. Paul sums it up well, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14). When we apply this verse to friendship, it tells us that we need to work on being the type of friend we want others to be for us. If we want friends who are compassionate, patient, and kind, we need to practice these traits. If we want others to be gracious and merciful with our failures and shortcomings, then we must learn how to give grace and be merciful. If we want to be included, we must start reaching out and including others.

Friendship Glorifies God

It is in reaching out and being a good friend that friendship brings glory to God. One simple way to understand what it means to glorify God is that we are to live in such a way that shows we believe that God is God and that his ways are best. This entails understanding who God is and modeling our lives after his character and instructions.

In addition to the fact that God is love, Jesus is called a friend of sinners (Matthew 19:11). He has this title because he exemplifies what it means to be a good friend. In 1 John, we read, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (4:10-11). Here we see that God made the first step in establishing a loving relationship with us and calls us similarly to love others. The Father made a specific choice to love us, and the Son took deliberate action toward us to become our friend, and because God loved us, he calls us to take steps toward others.

Therefore, when we take intentional steps toward others to love them, we are doing what our God told us to do. In addition, when we show kindness and compassion to others in need and extend patience and forgiveness to the undeserving, we are, in a small way, acting like our Savior, who did the same toward us. It is in this way, when we are good friends the way God was a friend to us, we bring glory to him because then we are reflecting who God is and what he does.


Even though they may be cheesy lines to an oldie but goodie Christian song, there is some truth in the phrase, “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.” The unity we share in Christ means that the relationships that we have in this life with fellow believers will last into eternity, and for that, we can be thankful! Our earthly friendships are just another reminder that we have been made in the image of God, made for his glory, and that in the goodness of God, he has given us instructions on how to do friendship right. Now go and be friends!

Ryan Trzeciak (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves First Baptist Church as the Director of First Counseling.

Share this

Subscribe Via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.