One Ministry, One Church, One Message Worldwide
Having friends who accept and value us is something we all want. Being around godly people who reaffirm our sense of self-worth makes life more enjoyable, yet forming and maintaining healthy friendships is something some people struggle with. A healthy relationship begins with two people who both have positive self-images, without insecurity or self-centeredness. The strongest friendships are based on Jesus Christ.
A relationship can only thrive if both people are secure in who they are in Christ; if so, then they pursue a friendship for unselfish reasons. The mindset that we need someone else to complete or fulfill us puts too much pressure on the other person to be perfect; this is an unrealistic expectation. A relationship with Jesus, first, constantly reminds us of His unconditional acceptance of us. He’s the only one who can truly fulfill us. “So you also are complete through your union with Christ…” (Colossians 2:10, NLT).
To fulfill is to carry out or complete, to develop the full potential in someone. God can complete us better than any human being, and fill our needs better than we ever dreamed. This is because of His great love for us. God’s plans for us are good, and they definitely don’t include being alone and friendless. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).
It’s easy to have a positive self-image and like ourselves if we see ourselves the way God sees us. The world bases its conditional acceptance of us on how well we succeed in following its ever-changing rules and standards. God, however, loves and accepts us no matter what. “…For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye”(Zechariah 2:8, NKJV). The apple of someone’s eye is someone seen as highly valuable.
We matter a great deal to God. When we realize How highly He values us, we’re more likely to value ourselves more. This leads to better and wiser choices in who we choose as friends. A true friend exerts a good influence on us by words of wisdom given in love. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice” (Proverbs 27:9, NIV).
Not enough can be said about how our friends influence us. Surrounding ourselves with people who care about us and our well-being keeps us on the right path in life. Surrounding ourselves with the wrong people gets us in trouble and causes us to make bad choices. “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NKJV).
When we’re secure in our relationship with God and we know He loves us, we can love others the way He teaches us to. Godly friendships benefit and build up everyone involved. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT). There’s no downside to following God’s lead in our social lives. Going by His standards instead of the world’s standards allows His love to flow through us and all of our friends.
To learn more about forming friendships God’s way, click on the link below for Taffi’s three-CD series, Grace-Based Relationships.http://bit.ly/GraceBasedRelationships