READ: John 10:10; Matthew 16:22-23; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 22:31-34; Mark 14:36; John 21:17

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” {  John 10:10 }

Have you ever wondered why some friendships thrive and others dive? We all want the kind of friendships that make life more fun, yet sometimes we can find them sucking the life right out of us.

As a mom of girls, I want my daughters to surround themselves with the kind of friends that will challenge them, love them, speak life into them and see value in them. I pray over them every day that they would be godly friends to others and they would have godly friends. I’m not praying them into a bubble of “Christians only” because that is not the goal, but when it comes to uniting with those on the same mission as we are, us Jesus girls need each other.

I pray the same prayers for myself with a keen awareness that thriving friendships don’t just happen overnight. They take time to develop and they are built around intentionality.

There is no man in scripture who was more intentional with his life than Jesus. He chose to surround himself and share his heart with twelve specific men. They were imperfect, opinionated, self-focused and spiritually immature. They were also handpicked. Jesus saw something in them that housed potential. He knew two things:

  1. Time was short
  2. He needed the right people to help him share his message

He saw what he could deposit as well as what he could withdraw. Not only did he recognize what he could offer them, he also recognized what they could offer this world. He knew the greatness in people when he saw it.

We know from scripture that out of the twelve disciples, there were three that were closest to Jesus: Peter, James and John. They were undeniably more than disciples, but also friends.

Why did he invest more heavily in some and not others?

Knowing that he was dealing with humans and hurt was inevitable, how did he filter who he could trust on a deeper level?

How did he measure who could handle having him as a close, personal friend?

I don’t believe it was because some didn’t ‘make the cut.’ Sometimes, people just “get” each other. There’s an instant curiosity or connection that draws our hearts in a little closer.

Friendships are built on connection. Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s a healthy connection, other times it’s not.

When the focus of a friendship is sharing the same message, it’s easier to navigate. Maybe that’s why Peter and Jesus clicked. Peter is probably the most likable out of all the disciples. He’s honest, straightforward, passionate and a little over-ambitious. He seems to be the most human out of all of the twelve because we relate to his failures and his victories make us smile. Overall, he’s comfortable in his own skin and that’s the main ingredient to a healthy friendship.

Peter pried into Jesus’ mission and heart. He asked questions in an attempt to get to understand him better. He gave Jesus the best of himself but he also wanted the best of Jesus. This is what we call a two-way street.

There is so much to learn from Jesus’ friendship with Peter. These two have some of the most entertaining dialogues in scripture. We can read the stories and only imagine the facial expressions and interactions between these two. They are raw, honest, sincere and even a little irritated with each other from time to time. Sound familiar? Oh the joys of having friends! It’s in their dialogue that we discover what caused their friendship to thrive:

“And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord!  This shall never happen to you.  But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are a hindrance to me.  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on things of man” { Matt. 16: 22-23 }.

1. Thriving friendships invite honesty.

These two couldn’t have been more honest with each other. Peter didn’t like what Jesus had to say and Jesus redirected him back to a bigger purpose. What did they both have in mind? Concern for each other. Uncomfortable conversations are always comfortable when the person knows it’s coming from a place of love.

“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I will forgive him?  As many as seven times?  Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say seven times, but seventy times seven” { Matt. 18:21-22 }.

2. Thriving friendships understand that there will always be a need to forgive.

What we choose to work through together, works to better the relationship. Through every opportunity to forgive is the ability to get to know each other even more intimately. Transgressions happen. In those moments we can build a wall or build a stronger friendship, but we can’t do both.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.  Peter said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.  Jesus said, ‘I will tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me” { Luke 22:31-34 }.

3. Thriving friendships look at the heart.

Jesus recognized that Peter was a marked man. He didn’t get too caught up fighting the person but was able to recognize Satan’s ability to work through the person. Peter loved Jesus and that was never questioned. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied him. Jesus was able to separate self-elevation from self-preservation. One friendship was ended, the other remained. In both cases, he forgave.

“And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep?  Could you not watch one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” { Mark 14:36 }.

4. Thriving friendships speak truth.

How did Jesus do this? He called Peter out! Yet, Peter was completely safe to be human. Jesus is not judging, he is stating a simple truth. He does this all through the New Testament. He doesn’t dangle the faults of his friends over them, he simply asks them to extract the lesson they needed and move on. He wanted them to be equipped with wisdom to lead themselves and others well.

“He said to him a third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’  Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’  Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep” { John 21:17 }.

5. Thriving friendships recognize what season they are in.

In this particular instance, Jesus was going to go away and Peter was needed to pick up the baton and keep going. Their season of doing ministry together was over and Jesus wanted Peter to keep his focus. Things were about to look and feel different and they needed each other to get through it.

Seasons change. Sometimes one friend needs the other more than normal. Sometimes we are called to carry each other and share the same burden. Sometimes friends that were by our side in one season might not be who God is calling to walk with us into the next season. And sometimes God brings you friends that will be there forever. They will take the bends and curves of life with you. It’s highly likely they will laugh with you and at you. There will be celebration, heartache, moments of peace and hissy fits galore. They will keep you sane and drive you crazy. That’s what friends are for!

Friendships thrive when they follow the will of God. When we make each other’s heart a priority and cast selfish ambition aside, we will find the sacredness of a friend.

Believe it! Trust it! Live it!REFLECT:
  • Do your friendships invite honesty and truthful feedback? If not, what changes can you make to implement that?
  • Do you have a friend you need to forgive? Perhaps a time when you built a wall rather than building the relationship
  • Knowing that friendships are built on connection, are your closest friendships built on a healthy connection?

Lord, help me be the kind of friend that speaks life to those you gift to me. Help me to see the value and beauty in every heart so that I will treasure my friends the same way you do. Send me your best girls to live life with and may we always focus on you!

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Kristin Bonin
Kristin Bonin
Hello! I’m Kristin Bonin: wife, mom, friend, speaker and writer. My name means “follower of Christ” and that’s pretty much who I am. Aside from being a sweet tea drinkin’, front porch sittin’, warm weather lovin’, southern girl (yes, we really do leave the “g’s” off at the end of words), I am also highly skilled at driving my kids to their extra-curricular activities, warming up pre-made food and asking Siri for help with homework. In the middle of my crazy, I somehow manage to find my Jesus and have learned to chase after Him while I’m also chasing the kids. I am a mom of girls and wife to my husband Chris, who is an avid runner and pun master. If time wasn’t a factor, I could read all day long and I am particularly fond of the Bible. Studying it and applying it is my heart and joy. You can find more about me at

1 Comment

  1. Kristin, I am so proud of you and so thankful to walk this journey with you. Good read Girlie!

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