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First Thoughts

The Bible and Your Relationships

What is a real friend?

If you Google that question, you will find several common answers:

They listen. They are loyal. They are accepting. They are supportive. They are interested in similar things. They stick with you. They want what’s best.

These lists all contain nice traits that have their place, but they all neglect the most important ingredient in relationships – the foundation, the root that produces the fruit of fellowship:

The Bible.

Are your relationships orbiting around the Bible? If they aren’t, you are missing out on one of the most important ingredients in the types of relationships that glorify God and bind people together for decades.

Why do you need the Bible in relationships?

  1. Because You Need Friends Who Watch You

Do you remember the first days of quarantine during COVID?

We all stayed inside and didn’t see family and friends for weeks. And if you were like me, you called those friends and family and asked the same types of questions: “How are you feeling? How’s your health? Are you OK?”

That’s called being “watchful.”

That’s what our relationships are supposed to look like according to Hebrews 3:12:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.”

The reason you need the Bible at the center of your relationships is because by nature we don’t want people watching us. We build pretty picket fences of privacy around our lives. But God tears them down in the Bible by inviting other Christians to walk into your life, take off their shoes, make themselves comfortable, and start asking us questions about what they see.

Do you have relationships in your church like this? Are you this type of friend? When is the last time someone asked you where you are struggling?

Only the Bible frames relationships in terms of watching. You need Scripture to redefine your instincts in your relationships so that you can be known. And only when you are known can your relationships be marked by the type of specific biblical encouragement God wants for us.

  1. Because You Need Friends Who Encourage You

The worst prank ever played on me was when a friend of mine put a fake snake in my office. This was a well-planned and elaborate prank. He attached it to a string and tied it to my door so that when I opened my office it began slithering toward me.

Chills went down my spine when I saw it. I was horrified. I screamed. I ran. It wasn’t pretty.

Why did I respond that way? It’s because I believed something untrue, and it controlled what I did. As I was hiding in another office, I had to have another member of my team come to me and tell me that the snake was fake. I didn’t believe him initially!

Deception is powerful, isn’t it?

This is why the Bible tells us we need something called exhortation or encouragement in Hebrews 3:13:

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Sin deceives. It tells us lies about the world, ourselves, and God. The only way for the tricky deception of sin to be exposed is through the living and active Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). One of the primary ways that Word will be brought to us is through the exhortation and encouragement of true Christian friends.

Encouragement isn’t someone making you feel better about yourself. Encouragement is someone who regularly points your eyes to Jesus Christ, revealed in the Bible, and calls you to trust him and obey him in the practical details of your life.

If you don’t have someone like that in your life – find them in your church and ask to spend time with them. It just might be one of the most important decisions you ever make.

  1. Because You Need Friends Who Pursue You

Some of my closest and dearest relationships are almost 15 years old.

Much has changed about us: our marital status, the number of our children, and even our hairline! But one thing has not changed: the centrality of the Bible.

There is one common objective under all the changing dynamics of our realtionship:

For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).

We all want “hold our original confidence” – we want to hold fast to Jesus. We want to keep believing what we have believed. This has created a culture of “pursuit” in our relationships. This means that we don’t let one another let go of Jesus.

If someone is suffering, and their faith is rocked under tragedy and trial – we surround them with care and prayer. If someone is entrenched in bitterness, we speak words of truth about how the grace of Jesus empowers us to forgive (Eph. 4:31). If someone begins to isolate, we draw closer.

The world wants to tempt us away from Christ. Satan wants to destroy our trust in Christ. Our flesh fights against the desires of the Spirit within us. Fighting for faith requires resistance.

How will we resist?

Through other Christians strengthening, exposing, building up, encouraging, and pursuing us to hold fast until the very end.

Conclusion: Uncomfortable 

The best friends I have are those who make me a little uncomfortable. They know me: my quirks, my sins, my weaknesses, my strengths. They know when I’m being authentic or putting on a show. There is no fooling them.

But that is why they are my best friends. They watch me. They encourage me. They pursue me. And all those actions are motivated and shaped by the Bible – the foundation of true relationships.

My prayer is that you will be a biblical friend and find biblical friendship – and hold fast to them, and Jesus, until the end.

Spencer Harmon is the Nocatee Campus Pastor. He is the co-author of three books: Letters to a Romantic: On DatingLetters to a Romantic: On Marriage, and Letters to a Romantic: The First Years.

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