I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately, and just heard a sermon on this very topic! It is crucial for us to be surrounded by people who will pray for us, love us, and lift us up. We need encouragers, who can motivate us in a way that points us in the direction God is calling us. They give us spiritual encouragement, more than just emotional cheerleading.
The sermon I heard spoke to the role of discernment in friendship:
The Spirit of God brings people into our lives, as does the Enemy. Only by being spiritually minded can we truly discern if someone is a gift from God or a Trojan horse.
It is incredibly important to discern among the many acquaintances and friends in our lives. Just one wrong person in your life can destroy years upon years of your life. So where in the Bible can we find a solid example of beautiful friendship?
One of my favorite biblical stories of friendship has always been Ruth and Naomi, which inspired the Ruth and Naomi Project in Guatemala. Naomi is Ruth’s mother-in-law, and both of their husbands die. When Naomi tells Ruth to return to her family, Ruth responds, saying:
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” -Ruth 1:16-17
Their friendship is one of fierce commitment, full of love and faith. This is what we all should aim for in our friendships – people who will be at our side, in thick and thin, and always helping us reach our full spiritual potential.
Today, my prayer and hope for you is to discern carefully, and love with your whole heart!