Strong friendships are vital in life. They set the platform, sway decisions, change views and either hinder or help you develop social skills that stand the test of time. It is obvious we were designed to do life with others.
Have you ever considered the origin of friendship? Where did it come from? What does it mean?
The word ‘friendship’ originates from a German word, ‘freund’. It is very similar to the old Dutch word, ‘vriend’. These two words literally mean ‘love’. So, straight out, friendship is love.
“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”— 1 John 4:16
So, if friendship is love, and love is God, does that make friendship God? Well, no. However, if you were to swap out the word ‘love’ in that verse with ‘friendship’ you would get: “God is friendship, and he who abides in friendship abides in God, and God abides in Him.”
Friendship is not God, however it is certainly an outworking of His character.
Another word for friend is ‘companion’. Companion comes from an old French word ‘compagne’, which means: “one who breaks bread with another”. Sounds vague and unusual, but not when you link it to the word ‘love’ and the fact that God is love.
“While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and blessed it. Then He broke it in pieces and handed it to the disciples, saying “Take this and eat it. This is my body.” — Matthew 26:26
How do we apply this to our lives? The next verse ties the two thoughts of ‘love’ and ‘breaking bread’ together:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13
The fundamental basis of friendship is that God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to break his body (the bread) so that we may live.
This means friendship is more than trust and more than faithfulness, it goes further than loyalty. True friendship is the willingness to allow the relationship to be one of self-loss. It is a willingness to lose your life so that another may gain, putting yourself in a position of vulnerability, not in vain but with purpose and love, because it was Jesus who showed the first sign of true friendship.
When it comes to talking to people about Jesus, our ability to be a friend and show friendship is paramount. Not only to others, but also to our fellow Christians.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” — John 13:35
A defining factor to our faith is our ability to show love through friendship.
This raises a few questions worth pondering…
- Are your friendships examples of your faith?
- Are your friendships based on selfless or selfish reasons?
- Does the way you love your Christian friends point others towards Jesus?
- Are you able to extend the love of Jesus to others through true friendship?
When it comes to sharing your faith through friendship, your greatest asset is your availability. Who are you making yourself available for today?