DOWD'S SWEET TOOTH

SAVORING THE SWEET IN LIFE

Friendships

Dowd Simpson

12 Nov, 2015

How can I go from being fully loved by Christ to not feeling the need to be loved in my friendships?


I like being needed. I like being a best friend to someone and knowing that I am that someone’s best friend too.


But I want freedom in friendships.


How does this become possible? 


How do I go from knowing that I am totally loved and accepted by God because of Christ’s work on the cross (“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8), knowing that I am loved because of what God did to reconcile me to Himself (“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32), how do I take this truth and then carry that over to my friendships. What do I do with this truth about how God sees me? How does that change me? How does that change my interactions?


Maybe it has to do with expectations. What are my expectations for a particular friendship? What am I bringing to the relationship, and what am I expecting from the relationship?


Pressing in a little more... What is the actual goal of friendships? Do I have friendships to make me feel good about myself? Do I have friendships to make me feel important? Do I have friendships to make me feel that I am needed, that I am loved, that I am significant, that I haven’t been forgotten?


Friendships are certainly a gift this side of eternity. Friendships show us that God is a relational God and one who delights in communion. He is a triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Three in one. In perfect harmony, uninterrupted communion, acceptance, respect and unconditional love. There are those rare friendships where it seems as if your souls connect, each feeling fully understood, accepted, loved and cherished. There is grace and where grace abounds, freedom flourishes. These types of friendships I have found to be rare, like some precious jewel unearthed once in a lifetime. If you are blessed with more than one of these types of treasures, what a gift of grace from our Father! I have come to realize that I cannot try and recreate these rarities but rather enjoy bathe in the sweet undeserved grace of our Father. 


Aside from these gems, how do we view friendships in light of our identity being in Christ?


Back to the question of what is the goal of friendships, the goal of friendships would be the same goal that is true for our own individual Christian walk with the Lord. The goal of a life with Christ is to know Christ and to make him known. As the Westminster Catechism says, “ the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” How do we glorify Him? John Piper puts it this way, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”


This is what we should want in our friendships. Its not about being wanted or needed, or making the other person feel wanted or needed. It’s about pushing the other to know Christ more, to enjoy Christ, to glorify Christ and to make Him known. Walking into relationships with this kind of knowledge grants us the grace of freedom. The relationship no longer becomes about me, or us, but about Christ.


So if I am satisfied in Christ, my friendships will look different. I am loved by the Creator of Heaven and Earth. My response to this kind of knowledge should be one of completion: secure, peaceful and joy overflowing. Meister Eckhart says that I could add the entire world to God and would have nothing more than if I had God alone. I could add all the friendships in the world to God and I would still have nothing more than he who has God alone.


Lord, please grant me the grace to shed my own insecurities and need for acceptance and renew my spirit with the knowledge of the grace of the cross. Help me to understand the weight of the truth that I am fully loved and accepted by You. Lord I want to glorify you in my friendships. Grant me a gospel-centered focus that presses me and those I am in relationship with to know you more and enjoy you forever.

 

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