Summary: It is the basis of every level of relationship of meaning. You must have a foundation in friendship. Are you a good friend? What qualities should you look for in a friend?
Pt. 1 - Cheesecake & Character
It is the basis of every level of relationship of meaning. Every relationship of meaning has to have foundation in friendship. In fact, Jesus elevates and highly values friendship. He makes this statement regarding friendship in John 15:12-15, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (one version says put your life on the line). You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
We always jump to the point about laying life down as if that only speaks to death. Friends will die for you. Then we look around and come up with no one and think we are friendless. We miss the number of folks around us that put their life on the line daily for us. Notice that Jesus experienced a progression in His relationship with His disciples. He started by calling them servants. He graduated to calling them friends. Why? What warranted the change? He said they became friends because they now knew His business. You have got to quit calling everyone friends because some of those you call friends can handle, and want to handle your gift, but they can't handle your business. They leak. You become damaged not because they hurt you but because they leaked to someone who hurts you. Jesus understood something that we need to learn! Intimacy is incremental. Time allows us to incrementally trust to share the intimate. You need friends but you have got to take enough time to vet them. You meet them on Facebook or once at a bookstore and you want to tell them your entire life story. You give them your business and they haven't earned that level of access.
Associates get your gift but friends get your life (your business).
Jesus reserves friendship for a select few. He gave His gift to the crowds but gave His life to the few. He knew that friendship was paramount!
Friendship is so important that we can say this . . . "Show me your friends and I will show you your destiny." Why? Because I have already spent extended time teaching you that climate is everything! People create climate. So, if climate is what causes change and controls the direction of my life, then I must manage my relationships to manage the trajectory of my life! Your destiny is determined not just by who you are, but it is also equally affected by where you are and who you are with. That is the principle of environment. We should know that relationships are important because in the garden the devil was idol until God put Eve in the garden. It wasn’t until relationship was established that the enemy went on the offensive.
The reason picking friends is so important is that there are 3 kinds of friends. 1. The friend I would like to be. 2. There is the friend they would like for me to be. 3. The friend God needs me to be. Guess what? Those 3 very seldom don't line up. You must also come to grips that in order to be the friend God has assigned you to be you may not be able to be the friend you would like to be or that they want you to be. You may have to rebuke, you may have to step in, you may have to wound. In order for your friend to be the friend that God needs them to be they may not always be able to do what they like or what you would like they may just have to do what God says.
Well, since I believe friendship is paramount, it is the basis of all other meaningful relationships, and that this level doesn't happen by accident I wanted to take some time and challenge you to ask some questions. Are you a good friend? What kind of friend are you? Does the one you call your friend meet the Biblical qualifications that will allow them to be a good friend? What kind of people should you connect to as friends? If you don't know what to look for in a friend, then you will connect to the wrong people.
Part of our problem with selecting the right folks is that most of us don't even know that there is a friendship manual called the Bible that helps us answer these questions. So, in the absence of its teachings, we substitute and settle for instructions from other sources. We learn from society and what it says is friendship. We long for what they portray as friendship. In the 1990's, TV through humor and 30 minute segments defined what friendship was about. So, now we want what Ross, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel and Chandler have. But I want us to stop and see what they taught us: