“Marco” – “Polo”

As a kid, I loved playing Marco Polo in the pool with friends as we followed each other’s voices to try and tag someone out of the water. I am sure this is happening a lot in the backyard pools as we speak. Today we have an app named MarcoPolo that allows me and my friends to stay connected through short video conversations we can send back and forth. One very dear friend of mine and I might share several messages back and forth during the day. So much so it has become a routine of ours. She starts the day with a “Marco,” I watch it and then end the day with a “Polo.”

She calls out, and I answer. I call out, and she answers. No matter the time of day or the circumstances, we are there for each other. We have seen each other in our ugliest moments, wiping away the tears moments, struggling to get it right moments, needing each other’s prayers, wanting to throw in the towel moments, celebrating good days, laughing at each other moments, and just sitting quietly in the moment. Each of my friends, my sisters, are beautiful souls. We celebrate each other’s successes, embrace each other in our failures, and go to the throne of God on behalf of each other. They are amazing women, unique in their giftings, strong, resilient, smart, and I am so blessed to have each of them in my life. As I reflect on these friendships, I see the hand of God orchestrating each one. He chose us to come together in a relationship. He gave each of us gifts to share with the other to balance our lives and our souls.

God created us to be in a relationship with Him and with each other. He designed genuine, committed friendship for our emotional and spiritual health, maturity, and prosperity. He gave us a living example of a genuine, committed friend in Jesus. Our Savior is always present, constant, faithful, and for us. He is there for us when we are at our worst, in our failings and fumblings when others might reject us or shame us; Jesus enters in and resides with us. He sits in the mud and muck with us. He does not flee from us when we sin, when we have a bad day, when we gain ten pounds, or when our marriage is struggling. No. He is our friend.

“In Jesus Christ, we are given a friend who will always enjoy rather than refuse our presence. This is a companion whose embrace of us does not strengthen or weaken depending on how clean or unclean, how attractive or revolting, how faithful or fickle we presently are. The friendliness of his heart for us subjectively is fixed and stable as is the declaration of his justification of us objectively,” wrote author Dane Ortlund in his book Gentle and Lowly.

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 15:15

Full disclosure, openness, acceptance, trusting, and committed – Jesus. He is a friend to you and me, but he also gives us a standard for developing lasting friendships. We have an example for developing friendships that are united by feelings of affection, love, loyalty, support, by your side no matter what, and someone you enjoy experiencing the joys of life. My husband and I enjoy motorcycle adventures with one of my friends and her husband, as well as eating out and having good laughs and great conversations. Another friend and I love to share our thoughts on the bible and indulge in deep conversations about life while spending hours in our local coffee shop. My husband and I sometimes go out to the shooting range or get together for a quick bite with another couple we love to fellowship with. These relationships may share different experiences, have varying interests, and unique dynamics, yet they are each rooted in feelings of philia love. A love that grows out of fondness and affection for one another, developing a deep friendship or brotherly and sisterly love.

A true friend will serve you honesty garnished with love. She will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

Jennifer Kirklin

A committed friendship is what each of us longs for. Genuine friendship requires face-to-face real-time engagement and communication with the other person, not just limited to Marco Polo, Facetime, or social media platforms. In order to have good friends in our life, we must also be good friends to others. If we spent less time trying to get the interest of others and more time being interested in others, we would have more genuine friendships. We will find our joy and significance in serving and befriending others as an extension of the Lord’s love for us. Friendship is how we heal and build community. It is through our personal relationships, as believers in Christ, that we can be a light of God’s love and kindness, being a good friend.

The first step in developing lasting friendships is sitting down with Jesus and asking him how you can be a good friend and to whom you can be a friend. Great advice from the greatest friend we have.