As you go through life, you will experience all kinds of friendships, which will shape you in new and profound ways. After all, God designed us for friendships: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV).
Unfortunately, not all friendships are created equal. The Bible warns us: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character'” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV). As Christians, it’s critical we choose our friends wisely. Godly friendships should lift you up and you stand firm in your faith. In this article, we’ll break down the top ten qualities that every Christian should keep an eye out for in their friendships.
Why Are Godly Friendships Important?
There’s this quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and he says, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” In other words, your choice of friends significantly impacts you, so choose wisely. Godly friendships are a gift, and they play a crucial role in supporting your walk with God. While the wrong type of friends will lead you to compromise on your values (or even stray from what God’s got in store for you), godly friendships are built on a foundation of love, compassion, and a desire to grow together in your faith.
How Do You Know if a Friendship is From God?
A godly friendship should have a positive influence on your life, encouraging you to live in accordance with your faith. This friendship will also bear the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
What Are Examples of Godly Friendships in the Bible?
Jesus and John
John, often referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” shared a close relationship with Jesus as one of His disciples. Jesus even entrusted John with the care of His mother, Mary, as He hung on the cross.
Ruth and Naomi
After the deaths of their husbands, Ruth stayed with Naomi and said, “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” (Ruth 1:16, NIV). Ruth supported Naomi in practical ways, such as gleaning the fields to provide for both of them, while Naomi offered guidance and wisdom in return.
David and Jonathan
Jonathan, the son of King Saul, always recognized David’s God-given anointing as the future king of Israel. He demonstrated unwavering loyalty to David, warned David of his father Saul’s ill intentions, and even helped him escape harm. Despite their differing family loyalties, David and Jonathan supported each other in their respective callings.
10 Qualities of Godly Friendships
1. They share your faith
It can be hard to walk in your faith alone! “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV) reminds us it’s important to have a shared faith with our closest friends. Christian friends will be better equipped to support your walk with God, whether you’re hanging out, studying the Bible, or attending church. While we can have deeply fulfilling relationships with our non-Christian friends, we also need to honor our need for Christian friendships.
- “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV)
2. They speak words of encouragement
An encouraging friend is a lighthouse in a storm. They’ll guide you in the right direction, lift you up with words of affirmation, and help you chart your life’s course by reminding you of your worth and potential. On the flip side, a bad friend drags you under the waves. They’ll dominate your conversations with negativity, gossip, unkind words, and hurtful comments (like snide remarks about your appearance, intelligence, or choices). Over time, you may lose your inner compass, or even stray off course.
- “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)
- “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25, NIV)
3. They hold you accountable
True friends hold you accountable. Guidance (and even correction) is needed in godly friendships, especially if you find yourself in unhealthy situations or seasons. In these times, a true friend protects you from heading down a destructive path. They’ll know when to gently and lovingly intervene. Be wary of those who never do!
- “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)
- “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” (Galatians 6:1, NIV)
4. They pray for you
Prayer is powerful. When we seek God’s guidance and blessings for our friends, we strengthen our connection with them. You may be wondering: how do we pray for our friends? Well, you can start by praying for their spiritual growth, health, well-being, career choices, relationships, personal struggles, or transitions through major life changes. It doesn’t matter what you pray about, it only matters what your intentions are, and that you turn your heart to God.
- “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19, NIV)
- “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2, NIV)
5. They stay with you through life’s highs and lows
Let’s be there for each other through thick and thin. A good friend will be there when you celebrate an achievement, such as a career milestone, or on the flip side, there for you when you face a difficult time, such as a loss or a heartbreak. Godly friendship come with unwavering support.
- “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15, NIV)
- “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NIV)
6. They show selflessness
When we put aside our own interests, we learn to put our friends first. The focus is not longer on what we can gain, but on how we can contribute to the happiness and success of others. Selflessness mirrors the sacrificial love that Jesus taught us all.
- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, NIV)
- “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17, NIV)
7. They’re trustworthy
Trust is sacred. It involves keeping our friends’ secrets safe and also feeling safe to confide in your friends about your own personal struggles. Trust means you know they’ll hold that information in the strictest confidence.
- “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” (Proverbs 11:13, NIV)
- “Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.” (Proverbs 25:19, NIV)
8. They’re a positive influence on your life
How do you know if your friends are having a positive impact on you? Well, do you feel good around them? Do they support your dreams? Do they encourage you to be the best version of yourself? All of these are good indicators you’re surrounded by the right people.
- “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV)
- “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20, NIV)
9. They unconditionally love you
A key focus of Christianity is unconditional love, a reflection of God’s love for us. Unconditional love in friendships means your friends should embrace who you are, not who they want you to be.
- “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8, NIV)
- “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)
10. They grow with you
A sign of a good friend is if you grow separately without growing apart. Even better if your friend is a catalyst for positive growth. After all, “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).
- “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)
- “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18, NIV)
A Prayer for Godly Friendships
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the author of all good things, including the gift of friendship. I thank You for the friendships You have already brought into my life and for the love and support they provide. Lord, I seek Your wisdom and guidance in nurturing and establishing new friendships. Help me discern those individuals who share my faith, so that together we may grow in our relationship with You.
Help me be a true friend, one who offers love, trust, and selflessness. May my friendships reflect Your love and bring glory to Your name. I pray for the strength to stand by my friends in times of trouble, to encourage and support them in their faith, and to be a source of comfort and joy in their lives.
I place all my friendships in Your hands, trusting that You will bring the right people into my life at the right time. I ask for Your blessings on these relationships, and that they may be marked by a shared commitment to serve and honor You.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Can I Pray For You?
Let me know what you’re praying for in the comments section. I’ll pray with you. I’m here to support you in any way I can. For more faith-based articles, click here.