What is a true friend? This question sounds as if there is a variable for an answer, and not a set response. The reality is that there is a correct answer. A true friend is one that is there. A true friend chooses to be there. He or she is not there due to obligation like perhaps that of a sibling, but is there by choice. This person knows your faults, your wrongs, your dark side, and still chooses to stick by you.
This friend strives to make others lives better. He or she encourages and strives to make better the lives of those around them. They do so because they want to, not because they have to.
A true friend is unselfish. He puts your desires and concerns first before their own; whether it be time, money, or whatever resource they have at their disposal.
A real friend tries to get to know you. The real you. Do your friends really know you? Do they know your likes and dislikes? What topics to avoid and why? What do your friends like to do? Do you know their life goals? Do you genuinely care about the information you know about this person?
When there is a best friend relationship, there is a love relationship. There is genuine care for the welfare of the other person. They love at all times, no matter what. There should be no reason that should cause one to distance themselves from the other unless they are causing them to stumble in their walk with Christ. And if that friend does cause you to begin to fall away from Christ, then their needs to be confrontation of it.
Does your friend counsel you? Does this person encourage you in your walk with Christ? A real friend and brother in Christ will point out an area in your life where you struggle rather than just overlooking or looking past it.
A true friend challenges. Scripture says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). A friendship is a relationship, not a one way street. Its give and take, so that both benefit from one another.
A true friend commits. He or she is in it for the long haul. The best example of a God honoring friendship was the relationship between David and Jonathan. These two were inseparable. They challenged and encouraged each other, making each other stronger in Christ. Every time you walk away from time with your friend, you should feel encouraged. Encouraged emotionally, physically, and most of all spiritually.
Do you have a friend like this? If you don’t, then it’s not too late to have your relationships become what was just previously described. Be the friend that brings Christ into the conversation. Encourage, challenge, and build each other up in Christ.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man encourages another.”