6 Statements That Will Have You Re-Evaluating Your Friendships

Proverbs 18:24- A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

(Photo: Me and my friend, Danielle, in Italy! True friends can travel the world together :)  That's St. Peter's Basilica in the back. Seems fitting for this post.)

(Photo: My sister and I. My A1 since 21 LOL! Because that's when we really started to be friends)

Background:  Peter was a fishermen who was called to be a "fisher of men" by Jesus, and as a result, he was in Jesus' inner circle as one of the 12 disciples. When Jesus was betrayed and given to be crucified, Peter denied having any affiliation with Jesus (which Jesus told him would happen). After showing immediate remorse, Peter went on to live a sold out life telling others about his friend and Savior, Jesus Christ. He's responsible for the salvation of countless people, and to this day, has a legacy of bold faith for Christ.

So how exactly do Jesus and Peter provide us a portrait of friendship even today?

1. True friends see your potential and carry each other to greater heights (Matthew 4:17-19)
  • Jesus was in Galilee and saw Peter doing his job as a fisher, but Jesus knew Peter would be a great "fisher of men". Jesus told Peter to stop what he was doing, so that he could follow Jesus. A "fisher of men" meant that Peter would be responsible for leading others to Jesus Christ and spreading the gospel around the world.
  • It doesn't matter what relationship you're in, you should never be stagnant, and hopefully, you're moving forward, not backward. We should always be becoming better people, and the right friendships contribute to that. I'm thankful for friends that see gifts in me and help me use them. I have friends who cheer me on to write books, join ministries, share my testimonies, etc. I'm shy, so I wouldn't necessarily do those things on my own, but I have friends who push me and support me in doing things I'd be scared to do. That's what Jesus did for Peter. Jesus saw past what Peter was, and became his friend to be able to grow him to do great work for God.
(Photo: Co-workers that became family)

2. True friends help each other grow. Proverbs 17:17- Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
  • Fishing was a tough job back then too. When Jesus first met Peter, Peter was frustrated with fishing yet not catching any fish. Have you ever gotten so discouraged and frustrated by something that you were over it, but you didn't have any alternatives, so you just continued to do it? Jesus came and offered a chance for Peter to do something new; something that was cutting edge, really. No one like Jesus had ever existed, and Peter was going to be one of the 12 that would get a front row seat to his life-changing ministry.
  • This is similar to the first point, but it's also important to note that true friends grow together. Friendship is a two-way street. Friendship isn't a dictatorship where one person demands the other changes. True friends grow together. Jesus was already perfect, but his ministry on earth was just starting. With Peter as one of his disciples, they grew Jesus' ministry and changed the world together.
(Photo: BFFs that can complain about their health, work out, and stuff their faces together lol! I mean, grow together)

3. True friends affirm and celebrate each other. (Matthew 16: 13-20, Mark 8: 27-30)
  • In Matthew 16:16, Jesus asks his disciples what people say about him. As they share what people were saying, Jesus asks Peter what he says about Jesus. Peter says, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This wasn't something that people were saying; this was a conclusion that Peter had determined based on his relationship with Jesus. Jesus knew who he was, even though others couldn't see it, but Peter did. In the following verses, Jesus promises Peter to do great things in his life because of how he affirmed Jesus and had a reverence for him.
  • Affirmation and encouragement is such a big thing, at least for me. Life can get tough. You have to feel like you have people on your team fighting for you and with you. True friends ought to celebrate each other. When you're discouraged or the devil starts to cause you to doubt what's going on in your life, you have to feel like your friends are there to help and encourage you. Friends that discourage you or make you feel bad aren't true friends.

4. True friends pray for each other (Luke 22: 31-34).

  • Jesus was perfect with absolutely no faults. Peter, however, was not. There are several times in the Bible where we see that Peter struggled with walking "in the spirit vs. walking in the flesh."Jesus prayed for Peter because he knew that battle's that Peter was facing and would face.
  • Prayer is SUCH a powerful tool. You do realize the power of prayer, don't you? Your friends fight battles that they may or may not tell you about, THIS is why prayer is necessary. Your prayers help strengthen your friends when you're not around. God will hear your prayers and protect your friends when you pray for them. You can never have enough prayers; we need them ALL the time.
(Photo: Me and 2 of my line sisters at the 2016 Pinky Promise Conference... laid out in worship every night and then talking each other's heads off about the goodness of God)

5. True friends are remorseful when they make mistakes (Luke 22: 54-62).

  • Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples and endured a painful crucifixion. He was falsely accused by people who remained in disbelief that he was the Son of God. Peter watched his friend and Lord, Jesus, so quickly get snatched up by soldiers with such physical strength. Seeing that, Peter feared something similar could happen to him. He started to pull back, in order to de-affiliate from Christ. A few people saw him by himself and said, "Aren't you a follower of Christ?", to which he said angrily said "No." Shortly before, Jesus told Peter that this would happen, and Peter was adamant that he would never abandon his friend, Jesus. Peter thought back to this and instantly became remorseful. He was hurt that he hurt and abandoned Jesus.
  • Let me just interject to talk about peer pressure and distractions. Peter got caught up in the circumstances and took his eyes off of God, literally. I believe, true friends are sent by God. They are purposeful relationships, and if God orchestrates them, they have a spiritual purpose. To maintain true friendships, we have to stay focused spiritually. When we start to struggle spiritually, that's when these friendships will fall apart. This is when people can stop talking, are easily offended, go off on each other, etc. Jesus told Peter that the devil wanted to cause harm, and that's what Jesus was praying about for him. Peter knew he was going to be under a spiritual attack, and when it happened, he fell right into the trap. Some of us are walking away from friendships that God ordained in our lives because we're falling into the devil's traps. Your friendships are coverings; they hold you accountable, but if you fall into the devil's traps, you'll lose your accountability and fall into sin, just like the devil wants. Is it worth it? Stay focused spiritually. That's how you'll maintain true friendships without being affected by peer pressure and distractions.
6. True friends don't allow grudges and mistakes to end friendships (John 21).

  • Peter made a mistake. He undoubtedly abandoned Jesus at his deepest, darkest moment, yet Jesus forgave him. Remember- Jesus knew the devil wanted to distract Peter, so Jesus wasn't surprised when Peter denied him, so forgiving was without question. Jesus and Peter had been through so much. Peter supported Jesus during his earthly ministry. Jesus changed Peter's life from mediocre fisherman to a mighty man of God. Their friendship was deep. In fact, I believe the low moment of Peter denying Jesus pushed him to do even more for Jesus after the resurrection. In the book of Acts, Peter boldly preached the gospel at Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved.
  • So this is where you'll need some discernment. There's a difference between being constantly disregarded and mistreated, in comparison to one-time mistakes friends make that they feel bad for. You've got to use spiritual discernment to proceed forward. Ultimately, if a friend that hurt you meets the above criteria 1-5, then they're someone you need to forgive and forge ahead with. If they don't meet the above criteria 1-5, STILL FORGIVE, but choose to move on happily. True friendships are like God's desire for marriage. Just because things get a little tough doesn't mean you quit, because there's purpose in it. God had a reason for bringing you together that's going to ultimately change your life for the better; you've got to look past temporary setbacks.

Jesus Christ changed Peter's life. Peter went through a complete metamorphosis and will forever hold a miraculous legacy. It was through friendship and following Jesus that Peter's purpose was activated and fulfilled. When Peter met Jesus, Jesus saw past the average fisherman and saw someone that he would enable to be a preacher of the gospel. Think about it. Only 12 men were disciples of Christ, and he chose Peter. Had it not been for his relationship with Jesus, Peter would've never reached his maximum potential.  I mean, this is the one and only mortal man to walk on water! Friendships are so powerful, in fact, they're life changing. So my question to you is, who are you allowing to influence you? Who are you influencing? If your friends aren't ultimately pushing you closer and closer to God and your purpose, are they really true friends?

Re-evaluating my friendships,

Dear God, Thank you for your example. Thank you for showing us that we are without excuse as to how to be friendly and maintain life-changing friendships because you certainly showed us how. You call us friends, and we are incredibly unworthy, yet it all has a purpose. Your relationship with us is out of love, but also because you want us to glorify You to bring others to having the same relationship with you. Thank you for your love and conviction. Help us to girt ourselves with friendships that mirror Jesus and Peter. Help us to push each other forward to accomplish greater things for you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Holy Spirit- Vashawn Mitchell feat. Taelia Robinson
Jesus Reigns- Vashawn Mitchell feat. Tasha Cobbs
You Make Me Brave- Bethel Music