After getting married, there is sometimes a tendency to stop investing in deep and meaningful friendships with people other than our spouse or our family. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle of life and allow our friendships to fall by the wayside. There are quite a few biblical reasons to maintain good, godly friendships. Here are the top five on my list.
Godly friends are faithful members of a local church.
A thriving church looks like deep relationships that are nurtured not only on Sunday mornings but also in doing life together every day. We need the church, and the church needs us—"For the body does not consist of one member but of many" (1 Corinthians 12:14). Paul is speaking here of how the church body is not one member—just like we are not only a hand or a foot—but rather the church operates through many different parts, just like the body. The Bible is full of mandates for believers to be regularly assembling with a local body. One such passage is Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." The author of Hebrews exhorts fellow believers to be gathering together and helping one another love like Christ through faith and good works. So the first and most important reason to maintain godly friendships is that the Lord has commanded us to do so, and we are to be obedient to His Word.
Godly friends are a gift from God.
The Lord is kind. He often gives us such grace in allowing us to have friends who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul told the Thessalonians they should continue "encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing" (Thessalonians 5:11). This verse is both prescriptive and descriptive—descriptive in that it explains how the Thessalonians were already building one another up, and prescriptive in that this verse gives current believers a guideline for how we should be relating to one another. This building up of one another also applies to our marriages. We need friends who build us up and encourage us to seek the Lord through our lives and our marriages.
Godly friends are there because you can't do it alone.
We were designed to live in community, and it is folly to believe we can get through this life in isolation. Marriage was not meant to be lived in solitary confinement, but many Christian couples refuse to allow others into their relationship for purposeful counsel and building up. It is prideful to believe we only need our spouses or our spouses only need us. We need the Lord, our spouse, and the community God has graciously given us. The Bible has a lot to say about godly friends, but Ecclesiastes makes a point of how a godly friend is there when needed: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). When you are falling, your spouse may not be the person who can pick you up. God has given us other believers who can lift us up. We need them.
Godly friends rebuke sin.
This may be one of the most common reasons people reject truly godly friendships. It is hard to allow someone into your life enough to see the ways you dishonor your spouse, struggle with deep-seated anger, or have a prideful heart. It is often embarrassing to have another person rebuke your sin. Our pride helps us turn a blind eye to the truth, and only when it is laid before us from a godly friend are we able to see clearly. Godly friends are means by which God keeps us on the path of godliness and in the race. It is exponentially better to have a friend who offers gentle rebuke than friends who see our sin yet allow us to continue to walk down the path of destruction. Proverbs speaks to this: "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy" (Proverbs 27:5-6). If our friends are not helping us repent of sin and return to God, we should be concerned. It may be challenging to accept instruction from friends, but the Bible also speaks to this: "Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future" (Proverbs 19:20). If we are to gain wisdom, we need our godly friends to speak truth into our lives.
Godly friends encourage you to remain faithful when things get hard.
The difficulties of this life are inevitable. The Lord has told us through His Word that the path of life for Christians is not one of ease, but one of sacrifice, difficulty, persecution, and suffering. "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'" (Matthew 16:24). Also, our fallen world guarantees we will see death, destruction, and acceptance of evil all around us. With these hardships, it is easy to lose hope, to allow faithlessness to creep its way into our everyday lives. Godly friends help keep our hearts focused on our ultimate hope. Proverbs says our brothers were literally born to endure adversity alongside us: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17). True friends love us through those difficulties and bear with us in our pain. When things become difficult, our godly friends are there to sharpen us, to help us grow into the image of Christ. As Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
Walk with Godly Friends, Be a Godly Friend
We are called to be godly friends to others just as we are called to have godly friends. All of the above applies to the way we encourage, rebuke, and love one another as well. We must "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). We need not be afraid to dive in deep with the godly community the Lord has placed us in. We are biblically commanded to love one another, sincerely. This necessitates vulnerability, honesty, and community that rejects isolation. These are the people God has ordained to walk through this season with you. Do not settle for solitude when you have been called to a deeper, more meaningful community.