This week’s post is from a dear friend of mine, who has been a great encouragement in her pursuit of Godly friendships and accountability, that is why I thought she would be perfect for this topic.
“Let us seek friends that will stir us up about our prayers, our Bible Reading, our use of time, our souls and our salvation”- J.C RYLE
We have all had some really bad experiences with friends at some point in our lives some of us are going through it right now. While we have varying experiences of friendship especially in the church I believe friendship is a high and holy thing. Friendship offers us the opportunity to connect with other image bearers of God. Friendships are places where truth-telling is practised. I believe that friendships are an avenue where we can follow the pattern of the cross in the way we relate, share hope, share burdens, and celebrate life, love, high and lows.
I have found that a lot of us attempt in many ways to trivialize friendship “just a friend’ and make it a lesser relationship in our list of important connections. I believe from the depth of my heart, like everything else in our withering lives, the end goal of our friendships especially those with the body should be God and His glory revealed. Since our hearts are prone to wander and worship other things, we need accountability; we need constant reminders of His glory and His worth in our friendships.
What does it mean to be a friend of the people God brings before us? How can we steward the gift of friendship for accountability? How can we be a friend who preserves and strengthens the faith of others? Here are four ways that friendships should heighten our love for Christ through our love for one another and accountability. The list is not exhaustive but a start!
- Friends keep us accountable to the glory of God
Do you want to be an effective Christian? Then do life with other Christians who are committed to growing and worshipping God. Friendship is a unique way we can become healthier Christians who are committed to being honest, working out our salvation, evangelizing, praying, offering grace and mercy and so much more. I have a time every week where my friends and I check in I ask my friends via WA or a call how their lives are and in return, they ask me honestly. We remember to keep each other lovingly accountable in our reading, what we are listening to, purity, work, service and various relationships. We also schedule times in the month where we have a heart to heart; prayer about life and its seasons. All these times are a means of grace and are a great proclamation of Emmanuel! If you can’t do life with your friends and if they can’t ask you the hard questions dare I say you’re doing friendship wrong. “If you can’t critique something or someone you love, it’s an idol.” Ekemini Uwan and you know (Jonah 2:8) has a word in season for idolatry.
- Friends expose sin in us that keeps us from God.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6)
Yes, it went 0-100 real quick I know but Sin deceives us. It erodes our understanding and makes us fools. So much so that we may be living in sin and convinced that we are obeying God (think of the Pharisees). This is why we desperately need godly friends we can trust who are committed to keeping us accountable.
We need friends to lovingly show us our sin. We need friends to help us see our blind spots. We need friends to speak with brutal honesty (Matthew 18:15) and tender compassion (Galatians 6:1), telling us the truth about ourselves even when we don’t want to hear it (Ephesians 4:15). This is an important function of a church community that few people want. We are the friends who always tell others what they want to hear, who show them the false grace of excusing sin and give them false hope that we can grow closer to God without repentance. But because sin is deadly, we cannot afford to forsake this kind of friendship.
- Friends should encourage us to obey God.
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24; see also Hebrews 3:13).
Have you ever skipped church so much that someone calls you out and lets you know that’s foul? Yeah me neither, lol. On a serious note, while it is true we need friends to help us see any disobedience, we also need them to spur us on to obedience. Often, obedience to God takes more courage than we can muster alone. Without the faithful cheerleading and accountability of Christian friends to keep going to church, to stay in the word, to kill sin, we easily shrink back and stunt our growth. Friends should cast a bigger vision for why your obedience matters for God’s kingdom. Friends are called to affirm that obedience glorifies God and counts in eternity. Whatever form it takes, encouragement motivates others to continue running as faithfully as possible the specific race God has marked out for them.
Friends should cast a bigger vision for why your obedience matters for God’s kingdom
- Friends should bring us to God in our weakness.
“Behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.” (Luke 5:18–19)
Journeying through life in a God-hating world, with our sin-filled flesh, against a roaring lion of an enemy, is too hard to go at alone. Alone, we easily believe the lies of Satan. Alone, we forget our identity in Christ under the weight of our sin. Alone, we grow cold, discouraged and weary. Like the disabled man, we need the help of our believing friends to carry us to God. We need friends for so many things including companionship, acceptance, belonging, love, affirmation, fun, help and so much more
A safe and trustworthy friendship that is accountable develops through a process, over a period of time. It takes time to find people who are trustworthy, people with whom we can be vulnerable and real. Charles Spurgeon suggests giving time before calling someone our “friend”:
“Wait a wee bit, until you know more of him; just see him, examine him, try him, test him, and not till then enter him on the sacred list of friends. Be friendly to all, but make none your friends until they know you, and you know them. Many a friendship born in the darkness of ignorance hath died suddenly in the light of a better acquaintance with each other.”
The truth is not everyone in the body of believers will be in our inner circle. That would be impossible. We should extend kindness to everyone in the church. We are to through His grace help, love, and serve all the members of the body we are able to. But only a few will be those closest to us, knowing our deepest hurts and cares, our sins and temptations. Like all things in life, friendship takes hard work, even in the church. Finding and nurturing safe and trustworthy friendships that call you to account takes time, prayer and patience. But we are not alone. Christ, our safest and most trustworthy friend of all is with us. His robust wisdom and help assure us we can trust Him to provide us with the friendship we long for.
For His glory,
Guest Writer Bio: “Flawed, unbought; lover of chocolate, passionate about justice as it refers to Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8; Luke 4:16-20; lover of theology; a recovering know it all and a full-time patriarchy smasher. The best thing about me is that I am deeply loved, chosen and accepted through the death and resurrection of King Jesus Christ. I am seeking to reflect through my life a desire to live honestly & passionately connected to God, discovering greater fullness & wonder in every season with Him.”