Today, I am very grateful for the wonderful friends that God has placed in my life. In particular, I have some really treasured friends who feel more like family to me – people with whom I can discuss emotional, personal and spiritual matters on a deep level.
I also appreciate that there is profound vulnerability in these relationships. While most of my friends are female, I have been blessed with a couple of really good male friends as well, and I have been able to learn something very important from each one of them. As God leads, I feel that I am able to impart some small nugget of wisdom or encouragement to them as well.
In fact, the Bible speaks to this issue of godly friendship very clearly, in the book of Proverbs:
I really like how this verse reads in the Amplified (AMP) translation. It highlights two really important aspects of friendship – influence and conversation.
I thank God for the influence that He has given me. I know that I have it, and I try to use it effectively. Please remember that influence is not the same thing as power and authority; I have almost no power, and little authority, but I possess vast storehouses of influence, and I know it. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Influence is unlimited and costs you nothing. If you’re wondering to yourself, “what does influence look like in real life?” You need look no further than the pages of Scripture. Read about the life of Jesus – this Man who had no formal education, and stuck close to home for virtually all of His life – had such profound influence in His every day conversations that we are still talking about Him today [and if you’re not sure where to start in the Bible, simply turn to the New Testament and read the red-letter words.] 🙂
When we are seeking to follow the Lord, then we should naturally be good (and godly) influences on one another. I believe that this is the Lord’s desire for each one of us.
Which brings me to the second aspect of friendship referenced in this verse: conversation. You really can’t get to know someone until you take the time to speak with him or her, and also listen to what that person has to say. In fact, good conversation involves active listening, which is an extremely important social skill that all of us need to cultivate. If I’m only focused on what it is I’m trying to say and tune you out, then I’m not being very kind or friendly, am I?
I am so grateful for the fantastic conversation that I had with a dear friend this evening. We got so caught up in talking with one another, that we lost track of time! We could’ve kept on going, but finally my friend said, “It’s 10:30 PM! We have to go!”
What a joy it is to be so open and free with another person – especially when this individual is a fellow believer. Such friendships keep me sharp, and I am grateful for them.
Dear Lord, I thank You for the wonderful evening I had with my dear friend. Thank You for the godly friends You’ve placed in my life to keep me sharp, and for giving them wisdom to share with me so that I may continue to grow. I also ask that You use me so that I can be a blessing to others, and help to keep them sharp as well.
Finally, I thank You for the God-ordained influence that You have given to me. I really don’t care about power or authority – influence is where real change happens! I ask that You continue to cultivate the trait in me, so that I can use it to bring greater awareness and glory to You. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.