We hope that you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Days like Memorial Day give a chance to reflect on those that have served our country, who have been there for us and those that are near and dear to us. This week’s devotion is inspired by this thought- friendship. God created us for relationship,  friendship and community. Join us as we hear from Erin and her perspective on faithful friends.

Faithful Friends

by: Erin Tyler

Educator and Behavioral Analyst

What is a friend? I will tell you. It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself.

–C. Raymand Beran

When you hear the word, friend, you probably think of multiple people that play that role in your own life. Of these many friendships, some begin quickly with the potential to last many years while others come and go, meant for a specific purpose during a specific season of life. Every once in a while, though, we are blessed with some very special friends –those that know our many imperfections and accept us anyway – our faithful friends.  Faithful friendship requires two things – an unconditional love for God and an unconditional love for one other. Just recently, I heard it said that ‘loving others’ goes much deeper than the desire to do something nice for someone or wish them well. True, unconditional love for another means mourning when that person mourns, rejoicing when that person rejoices, and feeling what they feel so deeply that another person might think that it was happening directly to you.

I met my best friend during my junior year in high school at a retreat for young Christians. We were seated next to each other throughout the entire weekend. We didn’t attend the same high school or have the same friends. We didn’t really have anything in common except that neither of us had ever met a stranger and we had both been called by God to be in that very place at that very moment. That weekend, God was intentional in his plan for us as he began laying the foundation for a lifelong, faithful friendship.

Throughout these past 15 years, my friend and I have been through just about everything together. With God at the core of our friendship from day one, we have been well equipped with everything we have needed to rejoice in each others triumphs, cushion each others falls, and be there to pick up the pieces when life seemed to crumble all around us. We have always said that God gave us one another for a reason and, indeed, He has never failed to provide one of us with the other at just the right time. It’s the times in which we have shared, we have sacrificed, we have supported, we have celebrated, we have worshipped, we have honored, we have loved, we have battled fear (and won) that make up some of the most defining moments of our lives. Proverbs 11:14 says “where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Over the years, this friendship has led me to friendships with other faithful friends. These friendships have not only helped me grow as a person; they have helped me grow in my relationship with God. These faithful friends have provided guidance when I have felt lost, advice when I have felt confused, comfort when I have been hurt, grace when I have been imperfect and most importantly, the promise that they will love me unconditionally. With these women, the length of time that we have known each other pales in comparison to the quality of time that we have spent. I am thankful for each one of them and the role that they play in my life. Whatever your own friendships may look like, it is important to remember each was given to you by God with the intention of serving a very specific purpose in your life. Some you may teach and others you may learn from. Some may seek guidance, while others are there to guide you. One thing is certain, though, no matter how you define a friendship, it should always have God at the center and must always share a mutual love, trust and respect for one another.

Put into action: Reflect on the people that have earned the title of ‘friend’ in your own life. Are these ‘friendships’ Christ-centered? Do they value unconditional love, mutual respect and trust as a foundation? Do these people offer guidance and support? Do they make you feel safe to be yourself without fear of ridicule or rejection? Starting today, begin to really think about your friendships – those you already have and those that will develop in the future. Pray that God will grant you the wisdom necessary to distinguish between faithful friends and acquaintances and guide you in the pursuit of faithful, lifelong friendships that strive to honor Him and each other.

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