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What Do Godly Friends Look Like?

The Lord calls us to fellowship together, as brothers and sisters in Christ. [Summarized from a weekend church conference.]

Christian fellowship is more than saying “Hi” to those on each side of you on Sunday mornings. It reflects the need for close, personal relationships that provide mutual support and accountability during life’s challenges, those we recognize, those we don’t, and especially those we choose to ignore. Godly friendships are a necessary part of the Christian life, but not all of us have them. 

By The Numbers

Based on a recent survey of 5,073 US adults by Pew Research (details here), 61% indicated that “having close friends is essential to living a fulfilled life”. Interestingly, this was a higher response than marriage (23%), children (26%), and even money (24%)(details here). Yet, only 53% of surveyed adults said they had 1-4 close friends, while 38% said they had five or more. Eight percent said they had no close friends at all. Most (66%) say that their close friends are of the same gender, a finding stronger among women than men. Finally, those with at least one close friend (72%) say they are either completely or very satisfied with the quality of their friendship.

Godly Friends are more than Close Friends

Godly friends take friendship a step beyond “close” because there is a third party to the relationship, which is the Lord. There is a recognition that God calls Christians into fellowship with each other, to build one another up, in Christ. 

Philippians 3:17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

A Godly friend is a mature person, seeking to know Jesus.

Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

We need each other as fellow workers and soldiers in the mission of the gospel. 

Philippians 3:18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Accountability partners begin as Godly friends. As fellowship builds, trust builds as well. Walls begin to break down and honest, open dialogue on the struggles of life begin to emerge. 

James 5:16a - Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,
Proverbs 27:6a - Faithful are the wounds of a friend; 

How to Make Godly Friends

Remove your own personal obstacles that block friendship.

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Proverbs 18:1-2 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Make establishing Godly friendships a priority.

Pray for Godly friends.

John 14:13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Spend time with Godly people.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Be a friend to those you wish to draw close to.

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.

Practical Suggestions

Smile more so you are encouraging engagement with others.

Look at people as you speak to them.

Don’t be resistant to introducing yourself.

Ask questions to determine their interests and remember their answers.

Be honest and open, but humble in your conversations.

What Does a Godly Friend Look Like

They need to be the same sex.

The friendship needs to be on a peer-to-peer basis, not a mentor relationship.

Ensure that you are unified in your love for the Lord.

Philippians 2:1-2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Godly Friends are Willing to Invest in Each Other

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

A Godly friend is someone we can talk to about the Lord. It is one whom you are willing to allow to do something for you.

  • We keep in touch and spend time together (Phi. 2:19-30).
  • We continuously remember and pray for each other. 
  • We are on mission together (Phil. 1:5).
  • We have brotherly affection toward each other (Phil. 1:7-8).
  • We bear one another’s burdens (Phil. 1:7, 4:10, 14:18.
  • We support each other in good times and bad times (Phil. 17:17).
  • We help each other grow (Phil. 1:22-25). 
  • We fight the spiritual battles together (Phil. 1:27-30). 
  • As we trust each other more and more, we begin to hold one another accountable for a holy life (Prov. 27:5-6, James 5:16, 19-20)

How to handle sin and disagreements and resolutions with Godly friends. 

If you don’t have conflicts, you may not have Godly friends because you are not challenging each other. However also give each other space, and pause in your disagreements.

  • James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
  • Before addressing an issue, you need to see a pattern of sin developing. Otherwise, just let people be different.

Check yourself first.

  • Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Let go of anger.

  • Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
  • Forgiveness is different than reconciliation. The first is one-way and the second is two-way. Neither fight nor flight are Godly approaches to a resolution. 
  • The threat of anger can, at times, change behavior but is often only temporary.

Remember, love is a verb.

  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
  • If you can love your enemies you can love your friends who hurt you.
  • Pray deeply for each other, both together and apart.
  • James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 
  • Manipulation to effect a change in behavior is a terrible solution. So pray, rather than try to change someone. 
  • Talk out your differences, calmly. Ask questions rather than challenge sin.
  • Proverbs 18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
  • Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • Be gentle and kind. If you can’t do that, do not speak.
  • Discern the significance of the conflict. Is it of primary or secondary importance?
    • Primary – Biblical principles, truth, and righteousness
    • Secondary- everything else; for example, politics.
    • If you can talk and resolve without a fight, do so. If not, and it’s secondary, just don’t talk about it.We get angry about the secondary issues more than the primary ones we should be focused on. Romans 14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
  • Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
  • Romans 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
  • Speak the truth… in love
  • Ephesians 4:15 – … speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
  • Matthew 18:15 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
  • Sadly, tolerance is one of the highest-regarded but most rare traits today.
  • We need to talk, in love, through God’s truth. 
  • If you don’t have people in your life that you know will tell you the truth, then you don’t have any Godly friends and are, consequently, isolated and vulnerable (Eph. 4:15, Gal. 6:1). 

Actively form bonds with Godly friends and from that group, find an accountability partner. 

Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

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