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Friendship (Part 2)

Friendship (Part 2)

MARCH 15, 2022  |  7 MINUTE LISTEN

Listen on Spotify, Apple, and Google

Episode Overview

Friendship has the power to refine us and shape us more and more into the image of Christ. On today’s episode, we’ll hear a story about how one friend helped shape our host, and we’ll take time to pray and invite God to help the next generation find and form friendships that help them become more like Jesus.

Read the Script

Connor: Welcome to The Approach. I’m Connor Owen, and I serve on staff at World Gospel Mission. This is one of our prayer habit episodes where we create intentional space to pray over the topic we discussed a few weeks ago.

Well, this week, I’m going to change things up a little bit. Instead of you listening to me, I’m going to join you in the audience, and we’re going to be led today by a coworker and friend of mine—Kateland Vernon. As she leads us, she’s going to share a story about the power of friendship and the way it can refine us so we look more and more like Jesus. And I hope that after hearing this story, you’ll feel sent to go and do likewise.

Kateland: A few weeks ago, I’m sitting on the couch in our game room, about to pick up my PS4 controller, when my phone lights up. I reach over reflexively to check it, like any digitally addicted Millennial. It’s a text from Amy, my best friend. “I encourage you to read the Bible before the end of the day,” it says. “You can do it! It’s good for the soul.”

My instant reaction is annoyance. I’m ready to relax, to play some video games and zone out. I don’t feel like reading my Bible, and I’m guessing Amy knows that, since she knows I haven’t been consistent with time in the Word lately. I feel exposed, and it’s not a great feeling in that moment.

But I take a moment, take a deep breath, and admit that she’s right. Reading the Word is good for my soul. So I do what’s life-giving instead of what I feel like doing: I pick up my Bible and I read a few chapters of Genesis. And I text Amy a message I’ve shared with her a thousand times over the past decade of friendship: “Thanks for challenging me.”

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Amy knows me well. Not only does she know what I need to hear (and that it’s not always the same as what I want to hear); she even knows exactly how I’ll react when she shares what I’ve coined “Harsh Truths with Amy.” She’ll typically preface her not-so-easy-to-swallow truths with “You might get defensive when I tell you this.” And she’s exactly right. I get defensive, but after a while, I calm down and acknowledge that she’s right, I’m not following Jesus as faithfully as I could be.

Don’t worry, these harsh truths don’t just go one way. There are plenty of moments where I speak into Amy’s life, as well, sharing honest insights that sting at first but are meant to build up and encourage in the long run. I love the way our friendship reflects Proverbs 24:26, which reads, “An honest answer is the sign of true friendship” (NIV).

In part 1 of this episode, we learned that friendship for Gen Z takes a different form. They’re often lacking this type of intentional relationship where they allow themselves to be shaped by someone else. Let’s take time now to pray for Gen Z, recognizing the importance of true friendships in their lives. As I read portions of Proverbs 12, 24, and 27, you can repeat these verses after me or think about what they mean for the Gen Z’er in your life.

“The righteous choose their friends carefully” (Proverbs 12:26 NIV).

“An honest answer is the sign of true friendship” (Proverbs 24:26).

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Friendship is meant to transform us more into the likeness of Christ. What do your friendships with members of the next generation look like? Are you taking time to shape the Gen Z’ers in your sphere of influence? Are you speaking life-giving words over them? Are you sharing truth as well as encouragement? And are you letting them shape you in return?

Take a few moments to pray that God will help you model this type of honest and vulnerable friendship with those in the next generation.

For the next few moments, pray for the Gen Z’er in your life, that they will build trust with their friends. That they will allow others to speak the truth into their lives and be brave enough to do the same in return.

To close, I’m going to read Ephesians 4, verses 25 and 29 through 32. In this passage, Paul describes what a community of friends should look like. Let these words wash over you as a reminder of the way God designed friendship.

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. …Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

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