Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

Luke 1:39-45, 56
Ruth 1-4
John 15:1-17

I met Kelley more than a decade ago. Little did I know our first greeting would lead to a deep, lasting friendship, one crafted by the Lord and for the Lord. 

The Lord, in all His goodness, created friendship, both for us to experience with each other and, even more importantly, with Him. 

Friendship is a high calling. 

When the Lord calls us friends, it is an invitation and challenge, one highly worth accepting. Friendships take time, energy, and intentionality, but the return on our authentic investment will be deeply worth it. 

In any relationship, the health of those in the relationship determines the overall health of the relationship itself: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If two unhealthy people are in a relationship, the relationship struggles. Two individuals striving to be healthier themselves will result in a relationship showing greater signs of health. 

Thankfully, when we are friends with the Lord, we are in a relationship with the perfectly healthy friend! The Lord always does things flawlessly. The more we interact with the Lord and seek to be like Him, the healthier our relationship with Him becomes and the more we flourish in His ways.

Graciously, the Lord brings people into our lives for seasons and purposes. Our role is to obey His leading and aim to reflect His character of kind, generous friendship in our relationships.

The Lord has preserved beautiful examples of friendship in His Word as practical examples for us! Within the Old Testament, we find a moving story of friendship against all odds: Ruth and Naomi.

These were women from different nations and cultures, serving different gods, bound only through the marriage of Ruth to Naomi’s son. When Ruth’s husband died, anyone would expect the relationship to meet a swift end in grief, each a painful reminder to the other of all they had lost. 

Yet Ruth clung to Naomi, pledging devotion, lovingkindness, and companionship down the fraught road of widowhood stretching out before both women. As their story progresses and the Lord brings redemption and restoration to their lives, we see their lives and hearts intricately, intentionally, and irrevocably intertwined. Their friendship is sweet and strong as each woman reflects different aspects of God’s friendship to one another.

Read their story for yourself and explore the friendship of God these women lived out!
(Ruth 1-4)

Turning to the New Testament, Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Elizabeth’s (the mother of John the Baptist) relationship offers another glimpse into the friendship the Lord offers us. (Luke 1:39-45, 56) Across the decades likely separating their ages, these cousins were united by the touch of the miraculous in their lives. (Luke 1:5-25; Luke 1:26-38) They demonstrated generosity, selfless love, and humble service like the God they worshiped!

In one another, these women found respite from the stares and whispers of those around them, the empathy of another trusting beyond her understanding, and a fellow reveler in the glory of the Lord’s plan as it unfolded in their lives.What can we learn from these women? 

1. Know the Lord through His Word and prayer.
When we know the Lord’s heart and grow in friendship with Him, we learn the rhythms of His design for friendship. Prayer and Scripture are the hallmark entry points for an ever-deepening intimacy with God. Though we fail in our relationships, we can point to Christ, the perfect friend, again and again through His Word, who remains kind and gracious, forgiving, and loving. (Psalm 103:8-10)

2. Know ourselves.
A woman who builds her identity in the Lord will set wise boundaries in friendship as she keeps her eyes focused on her Lord and her relationship with Him. Worship for the Savior, and grace for others will be her fragrance. She won’t be tossed around by the temptation to compare, gossip, or slander for she remembers Christ holds the first place in friendship for her. (Titus 3:1-5)

3. Know how to be a friend.
The woman who practices cultivating a friendship with the Perfect Friend will naturally reflect God’s kind heart of mercy and love to all her friends. She will listen to others as the Lord listens to her. She will walk wisely in conflict for her feet have learned to trust the Lord’s ways over her own. She will selflessly treat others with respect and grudgeless forgiveness for she understands that, despite her own rebellious sin, the Lord still pursues her. “Mean girl” doesn’t mark her character for she has learned to put off the old pattern of life and has dressed herself daily in the clothing of Christ. (Colossians 3:5-17

Kelley and I met when we both lived on a college campus as resident directors in on-campus housing.  We lived and worked in the same place. We saw each other at meetings, on the quad, and in the cafeteria. We shared life in a unique way. 

Over the years, we have seen each other at our best and at our worst. As we have each grown in our walk with the Lord, we’ve found ourselves being a better friend to one another.  

May we each draw closer to Jesus, the best friend any of us could ever find, and may we find our friendships flourishing as we reflect Him! 

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