Friends in Your Zone
As mentioned in Part 1 of the ‘Friend Zone’, this post has nothing to do with placing complicated labels on the opposite sex. If any of you were like me growing up, everyone was a friend. When the girl across the table shared her cool erasers, let me ride your bike, called me on the phone, or told me a joke, you were my friend. I met no stranger. But of course, as life went on, we all learned that a friend was more than the person who offered a piece of candy or sat nearby in math class. It’s good to be friendly and accepting of everyone, but everyone cannot be considered a true friend.
Watch who you allow close to you.
Those around you have the ability to push you closer to God or pull you away from Him. Not only can they affect your relationship with Him, but also your relationship with your family, other friends, and work relationships. In this post, the goal is not for you to get rid of all of the people around you, but to cause you to evaluate who is close to your heart. The Bible commands that we guard our hearts. Although it may be hard, you have to come to the conclusion that some people should not be considered your friend, and you have to, as Isaac Carree says, clean house. It can be rough, but it is worth it.
We will take a look at valuable friendships in the Bible that reflect what God wants for friendships.
Support: Moses and Aaron
Aaron was Moses’ older brother. Their bond was one that reflects many sibling relationships. It has its ups and downs, but you can always find support in that friendship. Oftentimes, our family can be an example of what a great friendship should look like. Moses had an encounter with God via a burning bush. He received instructions to lead the Israelites out of captivity from Egypt. Like us, Moses found every weakness he had and told God, ‘I can’t do it! ‘ But God had already prepared Aaron to be Moses’ spokesperson. Aaron was the friend that gave Moses confidence to fulfill his purpose as the leader of the Israelites. (Read their entire story.)
Had Aaron been jealous of Moses for talking to God or even got mad at God because God didn’t ask him to be the leader, who knows how the story would have been. Our friends are supposed to help us reach our purpose, not hold us back from it.
Do your friends help you fulfill your purpose by providing support?
Strength: David and Jonathan
David and Jonathan are a classic example of true friendship. After one of the greatest victories against Goliath, the Bible says David met with Jonathan, and the ‘soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David.’ The word knit here means to bind or join together. Their relationship was more than a surface friendship. I believe that David and Jonathan truly loved each other with a brotherly love. I believe they prayed, shared, laughed, and cried with one another. What makes their relationship even more special was that Jonathan, as King Saul’s son, was the heir to the thrown. Jonathan had every right to consider David an enemy and want him gone, but he recognized that God chose him and openly approved God’s choice.
Jonathan was a leader in King Saul’s army; at any moment out of resentment or envy, could have ordered David to be killed. Jonathan had power and prestige that David did not have and could have used it against his friend. Instead, he protected and strengthened David when he needed to.
Can you find strength and protection in your friends or are you fought against like an enemy?
Stability: Jesus and Peter
Jesus had a strong bond and friendship with all of His disciples, especially Peter. Peter was the disciple that seemed to have the most mistakes and blunders. Peter was that one friend that was kind of ‘out there’ and, in current terms, ’bout that life.’ At one point, Peter even pulls Jesus to the side to offer correction! When the Pharisees came to take Jesus for trial, Peter whips out a soldier’s sword and goes to work. Peter was quick to say he would stand by Jesus until death, but he was also quick to deny Him. Peter was ‘that’ dude; quite a hothead and very impulsive, but underneath all of that, he had a heart and love for God. Although Peter had his share of problems, he was also the only one of the 12 disciples to walk on water with Jesus. Jesus gave Peter a key role in the Kingdom of Heaven by allowing him to be the rock the church was to be founded on.
Jesus knew that he would be a man who would boldly proclaim the saving grace of God to the world despite his short-comings. Instead of Jesus dismissing Peter, He showed compassion towards him to help him become better.
Are your friends willing to provide stability by bearing with you in order to help you?
The Bible has many stories of close friendships. Mary and Elizabeth were excited to be pregnant around the same time. Mary and Martha mourned for their brother Lazarus together. A group of friends brought a lame man to Jesus to be healed. And Mary Magdalene and James’ mother Mary went with each other to anoint the body of Jesus after His burial. And Paul and Silas were locked up together. Those you call friend should be ready to stick with you in tough times and embrace positive conflict.
Friends are a vital part of this Christian journey.
You cannot live this life alone, but choose quality people to be close to you. There is value in good friends. Friends help shape your thinking, character, and actions. 1 Cor. 15:33 says ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”’ It is vital that you choose wisely.
Evaluate your friendships. Can you say that you have good friends? Why?