The Bible says that "the heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." (Proverbs 27:9)
Having good and reliable friends – as well as being a good and reliable friend yourself – is absolutely amazing. Knowing this, we must be willing to make friends and be a friend to others. Do you have at least one person whom you can call a "true" friend?
The Bible gives us great examples of friendships that stood strong despite facing difficult challenges:
● Job's three friends, namely Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, all "made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him" after his sudden losses. (see Job 1-2:11)
● Naomi's daughter-in-law Ruth became more than just a widowed woman after the latter said, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you." (Ruth 1:16-17)
● Jonathan, King Saul's son, became good friends with David before the latter became King of Israel. Jonathan loved David so much "because he loved him as his own soul." (see 1 Samuel 18:1-3)
Do you have friends like these people in the Bible did? If not, you can be that friend to someone. Here are a few tips to help you make new friends inside and outside your church.
1. Know your purposes
Friend, did you know that you should be careful in choosing your friends? 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."
In order to steer away from wrong friendships, you've got to know why you are befriending people.
If you're making friends inside the church, you must make friends for the sake of fellowship, accountability and growth in the Lord. Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
If you're making friends outside the church, you've got to do it with the heart of Jesus motivating you. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that "we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!'"
2. Be friendly
Of course, if you want to have friends, you have to be friendly yourself. Proverbs 18:24 tells us, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Be willing to accept some amount of discomfort and uneasiness. In this fallen world, people are hurting and because of that, they also hurt others. If you want to have friends, be friendly.
3. Stick to your limits
While we should genuinely love one another just like Romans 12:10 says, we must remember that the love we give to other people must never exceed its limits. There's nothing wrong with limiting the love we give to our friends. In fact, we are commanded to do that!
Matthew 22:37-39 says that only God deserves all your heart, soul and mind. You shouldn't give the same kind of love to your friends, because only God deserves that. Don't give to them what belongs to the Lord.