I first talked with Amy over Twitter. We attended some of the same conferences and followed some of the same people online, so we were able to fill 140 characters pretty easily. After a couple of digital conversations, she invited my kids and I to a swim play date on a warm summer afternoon. The first time I met Amy in person was wearing a swimsuit and no makeup! (Men reading this may not understand how big that is, but ladies will.) We found we could chat easily and became good friends.
Even now, years later, Amy and I still make time to meet for lunch and our kids still play together on school holidays. We learned that, even though digital conversations may be easy, actually spending time with a friend is very valuable.
Friendship is spending time with someone you trust and enjoy. Just as Jesus spent time with His friends so they could get to know Him better, we can build trust and have fun with our friends as we spend time with them.
But we often take friendship for granted. We have friend requests on Facebook and conversations through email that make us feel hyper-connected with anyone on the other side of the Internet connection. However, real friends are Stuck Like Glue and won’t let go when times get tough.
The monthly memory verse is: “A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes,” Proverbs 17:17 NIrV. Everyone needs encouragement, especially in tough times. A friend will be ready with helpful words and simple actions to strengthen his friends.
In Week One’s Bible story, Paul writes to the believers in Rome teaching them about accepting one another (Romans 14:13; 15:7; Acts 9). Our Bottom Line is: Friends accept one another. Even if someone has different interests than us, has a different background, or makes a bad choice, we can still accept and help them.
Week Two’s biblical principle comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:11a. Paul wrote these words to instruct his friends in Thessalonica to give each other hope, even though they faced persecution for their belief in Jesus. Our Bottom Line is: Friends encourage one another. It’s important for friends to encourage each other with positive words; to cheer each other on when we’re tired or hurt.
In Week Three’s Bible principle, Paul instructs the believers to use their new freedom given by God to care for the poor, widows, orphans, and others in need (Galatians 5:13b). Our Bottom Line is: Friends serve one another. When we get to spend time with our friends, we can serve them by thinking about what they would like to do, eating snacks they would like to eat, and looking for ways to help them.
In Week Four’s biblical principle, we learn that friends worship God together (Hebrews 10:25; Colossians 3:16). The early believers would meet in each other’s homes to worship God. They would sing praise songs, learn of Jesus’ teachings, and look for ways to help each other. Our Bottom Line is: Friends worship with one another. It is important for us to gather with our Small Groups on a regular basis.
Despite a culture that may define friendship differently, we can know what true friendship is all about. God went to the ends of the earth to make friendship with Him possible. He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus, to bridge the gap in our relationship.