Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 CSB)

Series Focus: “Coffee Talk”

Deep-rooted, genuine friendships don’t just happen. Like planting a garden, building friendships takes time, energy, and commitment. A sincere friend, whose heart is set on Christ, is a gift we treasure forever. How do we gain friends who love us and guide us, while holding fast to God’s word instead of what is popular in the world? Our lives are full of responsibility, expectations, and trials. Let’s learn how to care for our friendships so they will last a lifetime and honor the Lord.

Jesus laid the perfect foundation for us. We learn by studying His relationship with the twelve disciples. He gave them His love unconditionally; He helped them see the importance of serving others, and He took time to teach them so they could understand. If they had questions—He answered them. He knew their concerns, fears, and doubts. He is the best example of a friend and if we model our relationships after Him, we will have great friend circles.

The most distinctive trait Jesus never wavered on was His complete assurance of God’s Truth. If we center our relationships on this, they will bloom. In Titus 2, Paul writes:

Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. (CSB)

Integrity as a necessary quality in Christian friendships. If we remain in Christ, we will not steer our friends away from His word at any point. By our words and actions, our lives will reflect the heart of Jesus. When we stumble, we will confess and repent quickly, that our lives would be honorable and prove incorruptible. This is the friend I want to be and have. Too often we fall into relationships with those who would rather fuel the fire of discourse than speak the truth of God’s teaching to us. Look with intention for women with integrity to befriend.

For the word of the Lord is right, and all his work is trustworthy. (Psalm 33:4 CSB)

Another aspect of friendship I believe to be paramount is being intentional. When my daughters were young, I wanted fun, healthy, friends for them. I scheduled play dates to insure opportunities for bonds to grow. Not every play date was a perfect match, but some of their early friendships still exist today.

I realize as adults, scheduling ‘play dates’ isn’t commonplace. But shouldn’t it be? Why wouldn’t we intentionally take time out of our lives to make a date with our friends? There are essential steps we can take to build genuine, authentic ties that honor God and withstand the test of time. Let me share some ways you can strengthen your current friendships.

Call your friend regularly. A text, or a social media “like,” is nice, but nothing beats a voice or face-to-face video chat. It is so much more personal. This tells the other person you treasure them and want to create time for them.

Remember her birthday or other special days. It is always a beautiful reflection when you think of them and know when their special day is here. If my friend has a loss of someone dear to them, I try to make a note of it. I can reach out to them the following year and let them know I am thinking of them. When we do things like this, it shows intention. We recognize their joy or pain, and walk with them.

Be real. Transparency about failures and successes bring friends closer. No one is perfect. Everyone faces battles. When we share our pain, struggles, and even our sin with a trusted friend—our closeness increases. Vulnerability is key for intimate friendship, but can be dangerous with someone who wavers with sincerity. Be an incorruptible friend.

Set the date. Talking about getting together isn’t the same as doing it. Make the time. Schedule a real “play date” with your friends. It won’t matter if you are hiking a trail, painting pottery, watching a movie, or simply having coffee face to face. What matters is that your friend knows they matter to you.

There are so many ways we can be intentional friends with integrity. We must look to Christ, remain in His word, and follow His example in all areas of our life. In this, your garden of friendship grows wild and exquisite throughout your lifetime.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Jen

Scriptures: John 15:4; Psalm 33: 4; Proverbs 11:13; Philippians 4:8

Video will be posted on Friday following each Monday Morning Hope post.