If you look back at all the relationships you’ve had, what do you see?

The first thing I notice is the diversity—no relationship is like any other. Some have brought out the best parts of me, and some have brought out the worst. There have been friends who have been challenging, in good ways and bad, those who have supported me, and those who have given me the opportunity to support them.

But overall, all of my relationships have changed me in some way, and revealed different aspects of myself I had never seen before.

All that God does is for our good and his glory, including the people he brings into our lives at the times he does. The relationships we have are meant to make us better as people, rather than to make us happy.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

Relationships won’t always make us happy. They are meant to challenge us and to help us grow into the people God has designed us to be. They are holy in that way, and we should allow ourselves to be transformed into someone better than who we are now.

Allow yourself to be changed by your friends, but not without discernment. Like David and Nathan, David knew Nathan was a man of God, and knew that if Nathan would come to correct David, it would be trustworthy advice.

The most challenging and trustworthy friends are often those closest to God. They can see the parts of you that can be improved for the benefit of yourself and your relationship with God. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.”

It’s never fun to be corrected, but we will reap the benefits of having a friend who reveals our faults to us out of love. And just as a Godly friend can encourage us to better ourselves, we should strive to do the same for them.

The best friends have hearts that are ultimately on God. When we long for God and to present ourselves as holy before him, that will overflow into every corner of our lives. We long for our friends to have good lives, and to reap blessings and have good relationships with God.

Our fulfillment comes through doing the work that God has set before us. It isn’t always pleasant, but it is always worth it. Our ministry is for people, and the best way to walk out God’s calling is to love those around us, and to trust our friends to give us wise counsel in those areas in our life we can’t always see clearly. Each friend you have is an opportunity to see yourself more clearly, and to speak life into someone else.

Do you have friends in your life who you know can correct you? Can you recognize the relationships in your life that have made you a better person, and those that haven’t?

-Sarah Eberwein