Be a Good Friend

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love […]” Romans 12:9-10

One thing I love about the apostle Paul is that he regularly reminds readers to turn towards love in their hearts, minds, and actions. Romans 12:9 tells us that love must be sincere, or in The Message translation to “love from the center of who [we] are; don’t fake it […] Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.”

In a world where we have so many online “friends”, it’s important that we learn to be real, true, good friends to the people in our lives. One great way to do this is to cling to and call out the good we see in others.

I love what Elizabeth Shively says about how to cling to good: “Now Paul gives examples of how to cling to the good (verses 10-13). He uses the word agape for love in v. 9, but becomes more specific by using phileo in verse 10 to refer to the family love of those living in community. The images are powerful: let your love be heartfelt; be eager to show each other honor; be set on fire by the Spirit; be devoted to prayer; contribute to — literally “participate in” — the needs of the saints, and pursue hospitality. To “participate in” others’ needs is to give of yourself and your own resources for their material needs, like food, clothing, and shelter. True love is fervent, relentless, and practical.”

We model the love of Jesus and become good friends to others when we meaningfully show up in their lives, pursue their friendship, and help them as needs arise. This kind of life-on-life relationship is often messy because it means you weather through both the storms and the sunny days of life, but there is nothing more beautiful than this kind of friendship, to be known and loved, to know and love, and to know that your bond goes so much deeper because it’s rooted in relationship with God.

Who in your life needs your fervent, relentless, and practical friendship today? Who needs your encouragement? Your listening ear? Your loving embrace? Your tangible help? Take a minute to thank God for that person, and then choose to bless them in a practical way today.

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