Deep Friendship and the Way of Jesus

deep friendship

How are we lonelier than ever when we can count all the friends we’ve made over the years on Facebook? Recently, 60% of Americans report that they feel lonely on a pretty regular basis. 


Some have a hard time finding friends in adulthood. Others have no shortage of friends, but still long for a deeper friendship in their lives. 


It’s more than having buddies at work to pass the time easier or a couple guys around for a free weekend here and there. Research says that deep friendship can help us “find purpose and meaning,” not to mention “stay healthy and live longer.” 


So how can you cultivate deep friendships? Among the many things Jesus taught us, He gave us the perfect model of a true friend.  


The 4 Keys to Deep Friendship


1. Shared interests (and a common goal)

To build a deep friendship, you need to have something in common. Tom Flick is a good, true friend of mine. He and I couldn’t be more different except for the position we played in football. He’s an introvert. I’m an extrovert. I’m a dreamer with a serious streak of spontaneity. Tom is methodical and detail-oriented.


Despite our differences, our friendship is going strong long after we retired from our NFL quarterbacking careers, thanks to our shared interests in biking, skiing and, more importantly, our faith in Christ.


This common trait at the core of our identities aligns us in the most important ways. We are both going in the same direction—focused on living for God and growing spiritually.


Am I saying you should only be friends with people who believe the same things as you?


Absolutely not. Jesus showed us that He would talk to anyone, especially those who had been shunned by the so-called righteous of society. He found people who desired change, like the woman at the well (John 4:15) and the crucified criminal (Luke 23:40). 


My point? Find friends who won’t pull you down but are committed to going in the right direction, too. 


2. Deep friendship means deep care

Our culture rarely depicts two male friends who care for each other openly and deeply. One of the best, simplest things you can do to build a deep friendship is to go out of your way to show interest, appreciation and care for the other person. 


When an obstacle comes up in a friend’s life, don’t think of it as a chore you need to help out with if he asks you. Proactively offer your time and effort. Sometimes, it’s as easy as checking in and seeing how he’s doing. That’s the sign of a true friend.


Jesus was always caring for his disciples. He encouraged them constantly and prepared them for what lay ahead. He was always thinking about their physical and emotional needs. 


The most striking example? The Son of God taking the place of a servant to wash their dirty feet after a long, dusty day of travel. As Jesus lowered Himself to serve them, he also raised their spiritual understanding and counted them as friends.


“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:5). 


3. Total honesty

Deep friendship cannot form without honesty. You’ll have to be open about who you really are, including all your flaws and insecurities. I’ve found that being vulnerable bonds us together. We all struggle but we don’t have to feel alone in it. 


What did Jesus do when he felt “greatly distressed and troubled?” He confided in his friends, telling them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38).


This openness also gives us the accountability and safety to confess our mistakes. Instead of hiding in the darkness, we move forward in the light. 


4. Intentionality and consistency

Jesus chose his friends specifically and built a deep friendship with each of them. He set up meals, walks, boat rides, silent times in the hills and more. These were times they could share in the intimacy of their brotherhood.


You can do the same thing. I challenge you to be the true friend who calls someone out of the blue to see how he’s doing. Set up a time to get coffee. But the real key is consistency. Decide to connect in a dependable and frequent way that works for you. Plan a weekly meeting designed for you to share about your lives (I call it Men Huddle). You can get on a Zoom call tonight! 


Build Deeper Friendship with MenHuddle.

If you’re looking to deepen friendship and mutual mentoring, check out the PLAYBOOK FOR LEVEL 5 FRIENDSHIP—a guide that will help you connect with other men in a meaningful way and catalyze spiritual growth in each other’s lives.