Find a Friend: Five Relationships Every Christian Needs

Uncategorized // March 13, 2020 //

Seldom does a week go by that I don’t find an encouraging, or just plain interesting and thought provoking, piece of Christian media. It may be a podcast episode, blog post or an article that is right on time with where I am in life. It’s a “what I need, when I needed it,” kind of thing. I try my best to stay fresh on current conversation, always learning, and seeking to love the Lord with my mind (Matthew 22:37).

At the same time, I’ll find content along the way worthy of filing away for a later date. Sometimes the material is applicable to specific text or doctrine of Scripture. Other times the content of the post is helpful for living the Christian life. Still others, and I say this as a pastor, provide counsel and wisdom from those who have gone before me, and I can’t help but to place it in safe keeping.

Below is a listing of my favorite online hubs for good Christian content.

One blog post that has made a considerable impact on me through the years dates back to 2015 by Chuck Lawless. He has recently reposted it as “Relationships Every Christian Needs, Especially Now.”

Its content has been a staple of Lawless’ talks on discipleship, and is something that particularly resonates with me as I seek to live on mission. I’d like to share it below in hopes that you will be encouraged to think intentionally about your friendships. I do know this — we all need friends. Let’s leverage those friendships towards a life lived on mission for King Jesus.

In his original post, Lawless writes,

God created Adam and said about him, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). That message does not mean that everyone must be married, but it does show that God made us to be in relationship with others. Those of us (like me) who tend be loners need to hear this word: by God’s design, we need other people. Here are five relationships every follower of Christ needs:

  1. God —

For the believer, I know this one’s a given, but too often we know God in our head and not in our heart. Having a genuine relationship with God means wanting to speak to Him, hear from Him, be obedient to Him, and tell others about Him. I’m not sure many believers have that kind of relationship with our Creator.

  1. A “Paul” —

 All believers need a mature brother or sister in Christ who mentors them, who guides them in life to walk more and more with Jesus. A “Paul” has permission to ask you any questions, to drill down deeply into your life so even your secret places are still honoring to God.

  1. A “Barnabas” —

A “Barnabas” is a peer, a friend who encourages you to be faithful to God. He knows you well enough to read your eyes and understand your heart, but he’s also the guy who just “hangs out” with you for the fun of it. He’s a brother who’s close to where you are in his walk with God, and your goal is to grow together. 

  1. A “Timothy” —

“Timothy” is a younger believer into whose life you invest yourself (which, of course, makes you a “Paul” to him).  He’s the believer who watches your life, listening and learning from you as you spend time together. Your Timothy wants to be like God because you are, and this “Paul/Timothy” relationship is a fundamental New Testament model of discipleship. 

  1. A “Samaritan woman” or a “rich young ruler” —

The Samaritan woman and the rich young ruler are examples of non-believers who encountered Jesus. All of us need an intentional relationship with some non-believer, whether it’s a woman at the well, a rich young ruler, or a religious Pharisee. If you don’t have such a relationship, it’s going to be difficult to be a Great Commission Christian who shares the good news.

True believers, of course, have a relationship with God. Some have a Paul, and some have a Timothy. Many have at least a surface-level Barnabas, though the relationship is not as deep as it could be. Too few have a Samaritan woman or rich young ruler relationship. We know non-believers, but we don’t see them as lost sheep without a shepherd.

Hence, we have much relationship work to do.

Which of these relationships do you have? Which ones do you need to develop?

As we seek to live life on mission, I’m convinced that we need these relationships. More friends the merrier, perhaps so, but these are critical for every believer. They are not only modeled and for us in the New Testament, but prove to be the very vehicles by which the kingdom advances and Christians mature.

Let me encourage you to pray intentionally for God to place these persons in your path. Seek the Lord, and then seek relationships. Whether by phone, text, email, or some kind of video streaming, leverage technology for gospel wins and spiritual fruit in your life. The Christian life is not to be lived alone, and it certainly isn’t private. May God bless as you seek to make and multiply disciples.

Now go find (or phone) a friend!

About Neal Thornton