by Frank Mayfield
Coming out of a global pandemic, Americans appear more attuned than ever to the
importance of friendship. However, despite renewed interest in the topic of friendship
signs suggest that the role of friends in American social life is experiencing a sharp
A new report by Harvard found that 36 percent of Americans are experiencing “serious
loneliness,” with young adults and mothers with small children, feeling especially
The bible teaches that we are incomplete without friendship. God declares in Genesis
2:18 that; “it is not good for man to be alone”.
Not only do we need friendship with each other, more fundamentally, we need
friendship with God himself. In Genesis chapter 3 we read that God was walking in the
garden of Eden in the cool of the day and called out to Adam and Eve; “where are you”?
This exchange suggests that mankind had a sweet friendship with God. They could
walk side by side with him, experiencing his glory and goodness up close.
Tragically, our ancestors lost this deep friendship with God as they sinfully rejected his
loving rule. God is holy, and he is unable dwell in the presence of sin. As Habakkuk
1:13 says; “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing”.
Although God graciously provided the temple and the sacrificial system so He could
dwell in the midst of his people, it was a far cry from the intimacy of Eden.
What a Friend
Then came Jesus, who willingly gave up the intimate friendship he had always enjoyed
with God. Crying out from the cross; “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”.
Jesus took the penalty for humanities’ rebellion against him and gave us his perfect
holiness. Gloriously, this means that close friendship with God is possible once again.
Jesus says in John 15:14; “no longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know
what his master is doing; but I have called you friends”.
In John 14:16; Jesus promises; “I will ask my Father and he will give you another Helper
to be with you forever”. Indwelling us, the Holy Spirit makes good on Jesus’ promise
that he will never leave us or forsake us. We never have to fear losing our friendship
with God. Our friendship with God is supposed to be a blessing that we not only enjoy, but share.
“love each other as I have loved you” says Jesus (John 15:12-13). If we are to extend
this kind of friendship to those around us, we must start by leaning into friendship with
What does this friendship look like?
– It puts others first (Romans 12:10)
– It offers hospitality (1 Peter 4:9)
– It loves through adversity (Prov 17:17)
– It forgives and hold no grievances (Colossians 3:13)
– It is honest and rebukes when necessary (Proverbs 27:5)
– It seeks the sanctification of others (Proverbs 27:17)
Ecclesiastes tells us that 2 are better than one, if either falls down, one can help the
other up. We all need friends who will love us in these ways and Jesus challenges us to
be this kind of friend to those around us.
If we regularly nurture our friendship with God through the Holy Spirit, we will be able to
pursue rich and deep friendship with others. As a faith family, we can show our
neighbors what Christlike friendship looks and feels like.
Let’s all be asking God to make us the kinds of friends that our church and our city so dearly needs.
Frank Mayfield is a member of the Hallows Church at the Wallingford Expression