Finding True Friendship

Finding True Friendship

Ugh, I had to endure a move in middle school. High school I’m sure would have been harder but in the tweens years, it is especially hard to take on a new school and a whole new set of friends. It just so happened we also had to find a new church which meant walking into youth group all on my own, not knowing a single soul.

However, one of the girls must have noticed the terror on my face as I walked in. To my surprise and great relief, she walked across the room to welcome me. In the weeks that followed she would jump to their feet anytime I walked in the door, scream my name, and come running. Honestly, it made me feel like a rock star!

This situation made me realize that if I wanted a friend, I needed to first be a friend. If I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable in new relational circles, I would need to befriend the new person. If I wanted to be greeted like a rock star, I needed to greet my friends like rock stars.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” (Jesus says)

John 15:12-13

In this Scripture, we see that Jesus gives us two principles on how to find and enjoy true and lasting friendships.

First, He calls us to be the ones to love first, as He loves us. Well, how exactly does God love us? The Greek word used for love in this verse is “agapao”. It means to esteem, value, feel or manifest genuine concern for, to delight in, and to be faithful toward.

Secondly, God calls us to love sacrificially, specifically to lay down our lives for our friends. This love is an intentional choosing, to love in action, where our friends needs come before our own. This is harder than it seems because our culture today is screaming that everything is about “you and your needs”. But this Scripture clearly states that if we want to find true friendship, we have to love first and to love sacrificially.

I have struggled in the area of loving sacrificially. I often have the things I need to get done in a day: kids to worry about, dinner to get on my table, bills to pay, a house to manage, and ministry things to get done. All my time and resources have been dominated by what I can handle or feel up for, without the thought of how a friend might be in need. Can your relate?

Yet, I am trying to imagine what friendships and community would look like that is defined by “agapao”  love.  I pictured a community like that described in Acts 2. The people in Acts 2 were regularly relationally present for one another. They frequently hung out, shared a meal, and did life together. When one family would have need the other family would sell their possessions and give to meet that need. They were also committed to studying God’s Word together and praying for one another. They desired to see God’s truth, ways, and power permeate the culture of their community.

I see evidence of this type of community amongst the people at my church. My prayer is that each of us would experience this type of community whether at church, in a small group, or that we would create it amongst the relationships in our lives. Who can you love first today? Whose needs can you put before your own? If you respond, you will find and enjoy true and lasting friendships.

Father, Help me to love first as you loved me. Convict my spirit with the needs of my friends and family. Then help me to follow your lead to love sacrificially. Grow and deepen my relationships that I may find and enjoy true friendships. I love you.

 

P.S. If you attend The Chapel: Lake Zurich and are looking to find christian community. Let me know in the Contact Me portion and I will connect you with our Kick Start Groups Area Leader, Marie Shepherd.

About Erin Nicole Thompson

Erin Nicole Thompson is a fun-loving and authentic momma to 4 littles, wife of a ruggedly handsome Pastor, and as she likes to think, the CEO of her home operations. She delights in worship, cooking with good music, the sweet faces of her sleeping children, adult conversations, and some quiet time at Starbucks. She loves to serve alongside, encourage, and equip young and seasoned women. Erin is grateful to be part of what God is doing at The Chapel, a multi-campus church in Northern Chicago-land where her husband, Dave, pastors the Lake Zurich Campus. Presently, she lives to dream and follow God as he writes her story.

  • Cyndi Tilley

    Great reminder on how to be a friend. I get busy and so focused in my own needs, and that’s not good. Love your honesty- love you!