Christianity is a call to follow Jesus and doing so entails that we follow Him with other people. When the twelve disciples were being trained and moulded by Jesus, he often did so as a group. God meant for relationships and friendships to be life-long and lasting. The kingdom of God rejects the idea of disposable friendships.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Here are four keys that we must grow in to create lasting fellowship and friendships.
The foundation of any and every relationship is love. Just as 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Because God is a God of love, He wants relationships to be built on and founded on love for God and love for one another. And the love we give can only come through the Holy Spirit who gives us the fruit of love.
If love is the foundation of relationships, communication is the nutrition. A relationship grows through constant and authentic communication between people. In the same way we grow in our relationship with God through communicating with Him through word and prayer, we also grow in our relationship with one another through communicating with each other.
The unconditional giving and earning of trust keeps a relationship in tact. Where trust is not effectively earned and generously given, relationships cannot flourish. That’s why God gives us commands to not bear false witness and not to make oaths that we cannot keep – because He wants us to grow in earning and giving trust to one another just as God trusts us even when we may fail Him at times.
Forgiveness is said to be the restart button that gives us the chance to heal and be healed in relationships. Because God has forgiven us through Christ, we can now release the same forgiveness to other people as well. Colossians 3:13 tells us, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”