November 13, 2023

Nurturing Friendship

Written by Boyd Bailey

Wisdom prayerfully nurtures the right friendships, as your friends are an indicator of your future.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 13, 2023

friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17, NKJV

This fall, my wife Rita and I experienced the gift of being with three other couples on a two week vacation. We journeyed together in close quarters on a 50-foot sailboat. Now, some of you may be thinking that two weeks is a long time—even with good friends having a good time. Agreed. However, I do believe there are those rare relationships that can grow deeper and richer in a more confined physical space…we grew emotionally and spiritually. What allowed the four of us to flourish together instead of exhausting each other was a servant spirit. All eight of us were on the lookout to help out. Some prepared meals, and those who didn’t washed dishes. All of us hung laundry out to dry. I was the DJ, playing worship music in the mornings and 70’s classic rock n roll in the evenings. Two sailed the boat, two watched for coral reefs, and four tied lines to the mooring ball to anchor. No one had time to complain since all were solutions looking for problems. After two weeks, we all knew each other more intimately, and all felt deeply loved.  

The closest friendships are nurtured over time. They become resilient, having weathered relational storms that threatened to veer them off the course of a Christ-centered truth north. They grow in generous forgiveness by learning the humble approach of not holding expectations over the other in order to gain approval and acceptance. Rather, a loving friend defaults to seeking to see from the other’s vantage point, realizing that clarity of better understanding grows a person’s heart with patience and empathy. Nurtured friendships bear rich, lasting fruit. Inviting Jesus as the mediator of a friendship allows for relational freedom and total trust. Henri Nouwen echoes this idea as he describes why and how to nurture friendships in Christ:

Friendship requires a constant willingness to forgive each other for not being Christ and a willingness to ask Christ himself to be the true center. When Christ does not mediate a relationship, that relationship easily becomes demanding, manipulating, oppressive, an arena for many forms of rejection. An unmediated friendship cannot last long; you simply expect too much of the other and cannot offer the other the space he or she needs to grow. Friendship requires closeness, affection, support, and mutual encouragement, but also distance, space to grow, freedom to be different, and solitude. To nurture both aspects of a relationship, we must experience a deeper and more lasting affirmation than any human relationship can offer.

As Nouwen expresses, aspire to experience a deeper and more lasting affirmation than any human relationship can offer. Invite the Holy Spirit to nurture your friendship of faith in Jesus Christ, as He will give you the peace of His presence, the confidence of His character, and the energy of His encouragement. Earthly friendships will flourish when based on your heavenly friendship with the Holy Trinity. Similar to a loving family that creates a safe environment for relationships to nurture and grow, the Father, Son, and Spirit offer a place for soul care that becomes life-giving for those whose friendship is found on faith in Christ. What a friend we have in Jesus, and every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Like the Lord, a friend who loves the Lord loves a friend at all times and runs toward a friend, especially in times of trouble. Wisdom prayerfully nurtures the right friendships, as your friends are an indicator of your future. 


Heavenly Father, nurture my heart with your love so I am able to nurture the hearts of my friends through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name. Amen.


What are one or two ways you can better nurture your friendship with Jesus and another?

Related Reading

Ecclesiastes 4:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Colossians 3:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Worship Resource

Elevation Worship: Mercy & What a Friend We Have in Jesus


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