Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. – King Solomon
God designed you to have relationships in life; therefore, friendship is very important. We are created in the image of God and God is a perfect Trinity made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God always has perfect fellowship with Himself and since we are image-bearers, we need fellowship and friendship.
Our culture emphasizes having friends, but the Bible emphasizes being a friend, more than having a friend. When you learn how to be a friend like Jesus, then you will set yourself up for a lifetime of success with your relationships.
The Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament book of Colossians how to behave in a way that pleases Christ and enables you to be a friend like Jesus.
Colossians 3:12-14 You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. (GNT)
There are several qualities and characteristics that we should adopt, according to this passage. When you do, you will befriend others and you will have meaningful friendships. These things are especially important if you start a new job, attend a new church, or move into a new neighborhood.
1. Recognize that you are a representative of Jesus.
He wrote, “You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own.” Engaging others, being friendly, and developing relationships are important because, as a believer, you represent Jesus Christ. You are a part of the people of God.
2. Be kind.
Paul told us about the need to be kind or kindhearted. He told us to have compassion for others. Being kind starts in the heart. We must recognize that God loves people. You have never met a person that God does not love or that Jesus did not die for. Once that gets into our heart, we must let it pass through our tongue. I have found it very easy to criticize, be sarcastic, and make fun of others. But when I live like Jesus tells me to live, then my speech toward and about others is seasoned with compassion and kindness.
3. Get rid of the ego.
We are to have humility and a gentle spirit with others. Nobody likes a self-centered person who always talks about “numero uno.” Take on a humble spirit. Talk with a genuine interest in others. Don’t berate but learn to build up and you will find that people will be attracted to you.
4. Be patient.
Being patient involves being genuinely interested in others and their story. If all you do is wait for a lull in the conversation so you can talk more about yourself, then you need to work on your patience. Being patient with others is a reflection of how our loving Heavenly Father is patient with us.
5. Always be willing to forgive.
You must forgive just like Jesus has forgiven you. When you think about how much he has forgiven you, then it makes the debt that others owe us seem really small. Forgiveness is a foundational stone in any friendship. If you are truly a friend, there will be times that you get hurt or that you hurt. Forgiveness is essential to long-lasting relationships of any kind.
6. Love deeply.
Love binds us together like nothing else. Love brings commitment and unity. Simply learning to love others unconditionally lays the foundation for being a friend like Jesus
7. Invite people to Jesus.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (ESV)
One of the best ways to be a friend like Jesus is to invite others to Christ. When you think about it, what kind of friend would you be if you did not invite people to Christ? A loving friend would never fail to warn their friend about a poisonous snake in their child’s toybox. It would be unconscionable not to warn them. In the same way, true friends will invite others to Jesus.
Practice these seven actions and watch how God blesses you in all of your relationships.