What does it take to call someone your “best friend?”
The phrase best friend is one that is usually associated with being a kid or young adult. We can all visualize some middle school girls talking about their BFF’s and wearing matching necklaces or whatever it is that they use to symbolize their friendship. However we all have a best friend. Maybe he was the best man at your wedding, perhaps she has been by your side since first grade.
Regardless of when and how you meet the person we can all identify our best friend, or at least we should be able to.
When I think of who my best friend is, there are a few factors that come to my mind right away. The first is the time I spend with them. Maybe this time is face to face, or over the phone, but I think that the person you find yourself desiring to talk to the most is probably a safe bet to earn the title of your best friend. When you get a new job opportunity, or have some family drama that you want to talk about you probably have someone you text first. There is someone that you think, “they have got to know what just happened!” so you call them up and give all the details.
If your best friend is worth the title of best friend they are probably just as excited as you, if not more so.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35-36
This is the second major factor that comes into my mind when I think of a best friend, someone who feels with you. A best friend should be someone who rejoices when you rejoice, and someone who grieves when you grieve. A very powerful indicator of how a person feels about you is how they respond to you in a time of rejoicing. It is much easier to be sad with someone in a time of loss, than it is to rejoice with someone in a time of success. Being sad with a person only requires that you can feel a mutual sense of loss. A mutual since of loss is an easy thing to have.
Think of the tragedy in Paris that just took place. There is hardly a person who doesn’t have the French flag as their profile picture. We may not know any of the victims, but we can grieve with a foreign nation. Don’t get me wrong, I am not belittling that emotional connection, or the tragedy in Paris. I think that the American response to this tragedy has been a beautiful one that truly shows what being a true ally means. However this feeling of mutual sadness in one that is much easier to achieve than a feeling of mutual rejoicing. To mutually rejoice with a person means that you are willing to let their accomplishment be on the same level as an accomplishment that you, yourself may achieve.
This ability to mutually rejoice requires a humble spirit.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
The last of the factors that I will address when thinking of a best friend is this, caring about their life more than you care about your own. This is a very extreme type of friendship. I have many friends, but few I would advertise as people I care about more than myself. When you have a person in your life that you know you place more concern about their existence than you do in your own, you have a true best friend.
This is not to say that you think you are less valuable than they are, but that you would be willing to give anything, even your life, for them.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
Maybe your idea of a best friend is very similar to mine, or perhaps you think there are some other more important factors. Regardless, we can all agree that having a person to call your best friend is of vital importance.
More important however than having a person who is your best friend, is discovering that God is the ultimate BFF. That the creator of the heavens and the earth should be at the absolute top of your list of friendships. We are not bought with the blood of Jesus to simply become slaves to an all-powerful god. We are bought by the blood of Jesus so that we may enter into the greatest friendship available. A friendship with your creator.
I remember when I met the person who is now my best friend. It was during a lifeguard training session for a summer camp position I was working at. At first I did not think I would like this person. He seemed pretty terrible and I was sure that we would not get along. It didn’t help that we was a much stronger swimmer than I was. However as time went and I began to learn a little bit more about this guy, we started to get to like each other. After a few interactions I quickly realized that he had “best friend potential.” This “best friend potential” is what God sees in you.
The ultimate goal of the gospel message is not forgiveness, it is friendship. We are offered forgiveness so that we may enter into this friendship.
I think that this point is often missed when we think about our relationship with God. We attempt to gather all this information about God and try to understand Him as best as we can, but we never stop to think about what the ultimate goal of gathering information about a person is, to build a friendship. When you are in the process of “vetting” a candidate for your best friend position, you strive to get to know all you can about them. You try and find out if the two of you are compatible and if you have shared interests, and hobbies, and if your desires for life are similar. The incredible thing about our friendship opportunity with God is that the answers to these questions are very clear; yes. God and you are very compatible. God has an enormous interest in the things that interest you, and most important of all,
God is willing to be your best friend.
To have God as a best friend is a beautiful thing. I believe that having God as your best friend is the true purpose of life. Building that relationship is the most important thing we can do on this earth. It does get a little crazier though. This whole having God as a best friend thing gets better, it doesn’t end with you and God. Having a best friend in God means that your new life direction is to bring more people into the knowledge of this friendship.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
These word spoken by Jesus are the foundation of our life mission once we become a Christian. To grow in our friendship with God, and to bring others into a knowledge of this friendship. Whatever you do, wherever you are at in life, you find that once you have a real friendship with God, your desire is to let everyone around you know how great that relationship is. Like a marriage in the honey moon stage things are pretty great, and you’re bound to put a lot of posts about it on Instagram.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Jesus wants to be your best friend. Life can be a struggle sometimes. I don’t know where you are at today. Maybe things are going great for you, or maybe life is rough right now. Wherever you may be, it is always better to have a best friend by your side. Let God be that friend. As I was writing this post I couldn’t help but think of Jesus saying that classic line from toy story,
“You’ve got a friend in me”