Many people are familiar with the Bible verse Proverbs 18:24:
“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (NIV).
But that’s only the second half of the verse. The first half is just as important:
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin.”
Our closest friends are supposed to be Christians, so they can encourage us and push us closer to Christ—and so we can do the same for them. Does this mean we can’t have any friends who aren’t Christians? No, of course not. We still need to have relationships with non-believers so that we can point them to Christ. But your closest friends—the ones you call without a second thought when you have a serious problem—need to be believers. Let’s talk about where you can find these friends and how you can encourage them and build them up.
Stop Looking, Start Praying
If you don’t have many Christian friends and you’re setting out to look for some, you might begin visiting multiple youth groups in your town. You might put out a call on social media to see if anyone wants to do a Bible study with you. You might search desperately for a fun local class to take in order to meet some people. (I’ve done all of these.)
But to find Christian friends, your best bet would be to stop looking and start praying. God knows the type of friends you want and need. And while I hear many people talk about the idea of praying for your future spouse, I think it’s also a great idea to pray for your future friends.
Last summer many of my friends had left for college, and I wanted to find some more. I did all of the things listed above with zero luck. But when I stopped my feverish search and prayed for Christian friends, God brought them—a girl I’d been friends with freshman year of high school began asking me if I wanted to hang out, a girl who shared my passion for missions began volunteering at the nonprofit I work for, and one of my best friends from high school moved back. Stop searching and let God do the work for you. He’ll bring you the Christian friends you desire.
Build Each Other Up
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing,” (NIV)
Whatever circumstance your friends are in, simply let them know that you’re there for them, and if they are also seeking to follow Jesus first, then they should do the same for you. Sometimes, encouragement will be needed in big ways—I’ve gone to the hospital to sit with a friend who received a rough diagnosis, and I’ve had friends call me and pray with me before my surgeries or MRI’s. But other times, encouragement comes out in smaller forms—just a text saying “I’m praying for you” when you know your friend has a difficult day ahead.
Whatever it looks like, pray for opportunities to build your friends up, and when God brings you strong Christian friends, they will do the same for you.