“I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.” Psalm 119:63 (NIV)
Psalm 119 continually pictures life as being on a path or a journey. As we discussed previously, walking with the Lord puts us on the narrow path where few others travel (Matthew 7:13-14). Still, godly friendships don’t just happen; they must be intentionally cultivated.
Friendships generally form because of things we have in common. The more we have in common, the closer those friends become. If our intention is to know Scripture and do what it says (v57-60), then we need like-minded companions. After all, the purpose of building godly friendships is to encourage one another in our walk with the Lord.
Notice that the psalmist also gives a warning, “Evil people try to drag me into sin” (v61 NLT). Our ungodly culture has the force of gravity on its side. It’s always easier for someone to pull us down than for us to pull them up. First Corinthians 15:33 reminds us, “Bad company corrupts good character” (NIV). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have friends who aren’t Christians. But because our closest friends influence us as much as we influence them, they should be growing believers.
How do we identify people who would be godly friends? Well, we more readily see something when we’re watching for it. So we should be on the lookout for others who show reverence for God and have a desire to follow His Word (vv63, 74, 79). Psalm 101:6 puts it this way, “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me” (NIV).
That means really listening to what people say. Do they gossip, speak badly of others, or talk about things that are contrary to Scripture? Or, do they comfortably talk about Jesus and how He’s working in their lives? Also pay attention to how they spend their time. Do they enjoy ungodly forms of entertainment and recreation? Or, are they committed to serving in a local body of believers?
But the most important element to building godly friendships isn’t about other followers of Christ—it’s about us. Do we have Christ-like character? Can others see the marks of a godly friend in us? When we prioritize pleasing the Lord by following His Word, we find like-minded companions with which to share life’s journey.