Life long friendships, the ones that are lasting, will require good relating skills. The people involved will have to agree to being attached to one another by affection and commit to highly esteeming the other. A life long friendship will take a lifetime of practice. It will require treating others the way you want to be treated and relating to others the way God relates to you.

In biblical scriptures there are four strong qualities of good friendships: interest, love, sympathy, and sacrifice.

1. Interest is when the inner souls of the friends are knitted together. In 1 Samuel 18:1 Jonathan's soul was knitted to David's soul. They instantly became friends. There will be a common thread between friends.

2. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love in friendships is expressed through trust, shared confidences, and kept promises. Jesus said in John 13:34, "A new covenant I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." The expression of love in friendships requires that we love and relate to one another as God relates to us.

3. Sympathy in relationships and friendships is a genuine concern for the other person. It is shown by being there in a time of need with an understanding heart and willing hands to help through trying times and joyful times of a friend's life. Sympathy is also expressed through a listening ear for a troubled heart.

4. Sacrifice in friendships is shown when you recognize that there will be times when you put your friend's needs before your own. There will be times when your friend will need you to lay down some of your plans, ideas and agendas to help him/her. As a friend are you willing to do that? Jesus teaches the believers that sacrifice is the greatest love. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for friends (John 15:13."

When these four qualities are present and developed in a friendship you have one built on a strong foundation that will sustain the friendship for a lifetime. The values of a
strong foundation in friendships are: constructive criticism (Proverbs 27:6), helpful advice (Proverbs 27:7), and faithfulness (Proverbs 17:7). These values also help the friendship to past the tests of continued loyalty (2 Samuel 1:23), the willingness to sacrifice (John 15:13), an obedient spirit (John 15:14, 15), and like-mindedness (Philippians 2:19-23).

For your self-development here are two questions to ask yourself: What type of friend are you? How do you handle being hurt by a friend?

For your devotional or study time be sure to visit the Study Room for an "Issues of Life Exercise" on friendships at http://www.gingerlondon.com/studyroom.html.

Author's Bio: 

Minister Ginger London is a well respected and sought after preacher, teacher, speaker and certified life coach. The visionary for the "Got To Get Myself Together!" Relationship and Life Strategies Conference and The Ginger London Ministries Show on Blog Talk Radio. The author of four manuals: The Making of A Spiritual Diamond, Understanding Your Calling, and Discerning Your Boaz! and Friends, Foes, and Fellow Christians. A writing contributor for Aspire, The New Women Of Color Study Bible. She has preached and taught life changing messages, both nationally and internationally. For preaching/teaching invitations please contact: Ginger London Ministries, PO Box 74294, Baton Rouge, La 70874. Email: glondonmin@yahoo.com. For product resources visit the website at http://www.gingerlondon.com.