I’m writing tonight because I literally cannot sleep. If I were to climb into my bed right now and close my eyes, my mind would simply replay the events of this evening and the previous several years of my life. Tonight I came to this conclusion…I am incredibly blessed. For longer than a decade I have had some of the most amazing friends ever.

And while I’ve had great friends for a very long time, it seems that recently my friends have become even more amazing and it’s totally blowing my mind. Why is it that I feel more and more loved every time I have the opportunity to fellowship with these particular individuals? As I sit here in the lobby of my residence hall, I think I’ve figured it out. The specific friendships that I’m referring to are with friends who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and are walking in a personal relationship with Him daily. It is these friends that have developed an incredible ability to love me over the years for who I am.

I will be the first to admit that I am NOWHERE CLOSE to perfect. Some of my shortcomings would include a lack of patience, being slightly quick to anger, and not being as disciplined as a man after God’s heart should be. With all of the imperfections I have, there are often times when I find it unbelievable that anyone could love me. But my friends love me for who I am, regardless of the circumstances.

It brings me to tears to think about the many times I’ve failed as a friend, as a brother in Christ, as a blood-related brother, etc and my family and friends STILL love me. The ones that love me the very most and the most unconditionally being the ones that are Believers. These friends are the ones that are not stagnant in their faith. They continually push forth in their relationships with Christ. So as their relationships with Father God become more and more mature, they become more aware of the vast love that Christ has made available to them.

When you’ve had your eyes opened to how much God loves you, there is no other logical action to take, other than loving someone else to a similar degree. This is due to God’s love overflowing out of your life and into others. Essentially, as you grow closer to God, you are able to grow closer to others. Because your eyes have been opened to a level of love that only followers of the Lord Most High can experience.

So here are my thoughts…if you want to be the best friend that you can possibly be to those that you love and care about. Then I highly suggest becoming fully invested in a genuine relationship with Christ. A relationship that is guaranteed to reveal the deepest levels of love possible, which will push many of your friendships to levels you never thought were attainable. I can guarantee this from personal experience. I’ve watched as my friends have greatly matured in their faith and walk with the Lord and my relationships with them have increased in correlation with the depth of their relationship with God.

Friendships in themselves are easy to come by. Everyone wants to feel loved and accepted by everybody. But why settle for being the mediocre friend that can only offer a “what’s up?” in the hall? Wouldn’t you rather be the one whom your friends felt their could come to in a time of need? Relationships built upon a strong relationship with the Lord are the ones that will go far deeper. These friendships are the ones that you’ll have memories of that will make you laugh and memories that will bring tears of joy to your eyes as you realize how incredibly blessed you are.

Tonight, tears flow down my cheeks. Not because I am sad. Rather, simply because I am incredibly blessed. My friends know the Father. My friends know how to love. My friends are joyous, live by the hope of the Gospel, and will never give up on me. I love my friends, more than is possible to convey through the art of language. I tell them over and over and over again how much I love them, but regardless of my ability to string words of encouragement beautifully together…I will NEVER be able to express to them how much they mean to me. But I believe that’s the beauty of it. You see, I’ve reached that level of love in the Lord’s Kingdom where mere words are not good enough. Actions, facial expression, the things that are left unsaid, the entire person, the entire relationship becomes an expression of love.

Real friendships are not based upon what others can do for you, nor what you’re capable of doing for them. Real friendships are ones that revolve around the common ground of being in love with the Lord. And as each of you pursue your newfound love, you will face trials of many kinds as is promised to us in the book of James. But with the genuine love illustrated for Believers in 1 Corinthians 13, each friend is able to continually lift up their brother and sister in Christ. Never allowing a fall to stop your comrade from their pursuit of the Lord. Always rejoicing in the success of their brothers. Always praying over them in times of need. Always covering over their multitude of sins with the love of Christ. Always pursuing a heart of repentance together. Always….pursuing the Father. For you are brothers and sisters. Family sticks together and my friends, you’ve entered the journey toward Home!

This…is friendship!

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