How did you become friends with your best friend? How did your friendship start? What is it about her that makes her your best friend? How do you maintain it?
First of course, you must meet your friend. Then, I think friendship stems from a mutual desire to become friends and get to know each other. I point this out because I have tried to become friends with different people, but it never really worked out. Why? Simply put, the feelings were not reciprocated. True friendship is never one sided. You share each other’s stories and backgrounds. You know how she thinks. You share your deepest fears and dreams. You can count on her to call you on your “stuff” in love. You love her, she loves you.
Becoming friends and maintaining a friendship does take work. It takes communication. Lives constantly change. I can always feel when my friendship is slipping, when I do not feel as close to my BFF as I did before. Why? I have not talked to her in a meaningful way! I do not have to talk to her for hours, but I do need to make my time with her count. When I neglect her, I neglect our friendship.
Our friendship with our Savior is no different. To begin with, we must meet Him. Think of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8: 34-35: “The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus” (NIV). How could the eunuch have a relationship with his Savoir if he did not know who Christ is? Until God sent Phillip, the two had never met! In Romans 10:17, Paul tells us, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (NAS). We need to hear the word; we need to meet God.
We also have to have a mutual desire to be friends. He already desires our love, attention, our friendship. From John 3:16 we know God loves us! He wants to save us. So, we must ask ourselves: “Do I really want to make Jesus my best friend? Do I want to put in the time and effort? Am I ready to hear, learn, and know His story? Am I ready to let Him know ALL of mine?” Those are big questions. Questions we need to honestly answer.
Friendship with our Savior requires time in prayer, and time in study. We need to communicate. Think of when you want to talk to your best friend. She comes to mind when I experience great joys, great sorrows, trials, and the mundane. This is the case with Jesus. Philippians 4: 4-7 says: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We need to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV). But as in human friendships, our communication must not be one-sided. How long do our human friendships last if one person does ALL the talking and NO listening? We need to be prepared to listen to God. We need to be prepared to wait for His answer. Think of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” We need to be still, so we can know, so we can listen.
If we are to truly know our Lord, we need to learn about Him. We need to know His Father. We can learn about God in several ways, but one important way is by reading, studying, and internalizing His Word. Best friends can be counted on to call us out on our “stuff.” Friends challenge us to be better than we are. Jesus knows our struggles. And if we are spending meaningful time in His word, we will feel the pricks of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is more than capable of “stepping on our toes” if we let it. God plainly tells us what is right and wrong. Let Him call you out; let Him challenge you. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 NIV).
I am often guilty of neglecting my Savior, guilty of talking too much and listening too little, and guilty of not spending meaningful time in the Word. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11: 29-30: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is [a]easy and My burden is light” (NAS, emphasis added). Like every good best friend, our Lord is forgiving. He welcomes me back with open arms, ready to fill my cup.
By Kristin Neill
Kristin is a working mom, is married with two beautiful children. She and her family worship at the Soutwest church of Christ in Ada, ok.