Getting to the Heart of Friendships
From Friend Request, the 2014 Spring Retreat
The Friendship Orientations handout can be downloaded by clicking on the Handout button in the Download bar above.
I. We were made for friendships.
A. We Long for Relationships
B. Created for Friendship with God
“We’re not loved by God because of what we could offer to Him (we had nothing to offer); we’re not loved because we look ok, because we’re dressed appropriately, or because we know what to talk about. We’re loved because God chose to love us.”
C. Created for Friendships with Others
II. If I’m Not Rooted in Christ’s Love I’ll be Tempted to Use Relationships for What They Will Do for Me.
“We enter relationships for personal pleasure, self-actualization, and fun. We want low personal cost and high self-defined returns.”1
1 Lane, Tim & Tripp, Paul. (2006). Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, p. 48.
III. The Heart of Friendships
A. Your heart is the wellspring of life
Prov. 4:23: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Luke 6:45: The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (NIV)
B. So, how do I develop a good heart?
Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (NIV)
Ezekiel 36:26-27: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (NIV)
C. Is that all there is to it? Get a new heart?
IV. Make sure you pick the right best friend.
A.God wants you for his friend (John 15:14)
...We humans bring sin, rebellion, death, and separation to the [friendship] equation. But God brings forgiveness, reconciliation, life, and restoration. He brings grace that makes friends of his enemies... God is not merely kind to people who don’t deserve it.
He does more than simply help me when I’m struggling and then send me on my way. Instead he pursues me to [build a] relationship - the most precious and beautiful thing in the universe – and to defeat my destructive rebellion. ...Our God keeps pursuing us for relationship, doing what must be done to ensure that it happens.
...Do you believe it? Do you believe that God wants to be your friend? Perhaps you believe that God searches diligently for you. You can even muster up the faith to believe that he’s doing so for your good. But when you think about all the glorious creatures in the universe and all the truly interesting people who have something to offer, you can’t quite believe that God thinks you’re especially worth knowing. ...
You wouldn’t be the first to believe those lies. They’re the same ones Satan has told for years: that God doesn’t truly love his children or really want to know them. There’s just enough reasonableness in those thoughts to make them plausible. On one level, it is crazy to believe that the Creator would want anything to do with you or me. I mean, what’s in it for him? But it is God himself who says that he wants us, and he backs his words with his actions...
Now it’s your turn. ... do you want the friendship with him that he desires?2
2 Smith, William (2006). Caught Off Guard. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, p. 22
B. Who will be your best friend?
C.S. Lewis: When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly [best friends], I shall love my earthly [best friends] better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly [best friends] at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly [best friends] at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.3
3 Lewis, C. S. (1966). Letters of C. S. Lewis. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, p. 248, as quoted in Lane, Tim & Tripp, Paul (2006) Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, p. 8.