As you cultivate godly friendships, focus on the four hallmarks of a genuine friendship.

First, friends are available to each other and do not abandon each other during difficult times. As we model ourselves after God’s own words, we can say to our friends, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

The second hallmark of genuine friendship is communication. Friends not only talk to each other, but they share their innermost feelings and listen to each other. A godly relationship is a haven in which we can be vulnerable and honest about our shortcomings and temptations. And in turn, our friend will keep our confidences and encourage us in our struggles.

Encouragement is the third key of true friendship. Friends are generous with their forgiveness, their praise, and their appreciation of each other. They speak kind, uplifting words to each other. When we falter, a friend will help us up and walk with us toward the right path. A true friend will lovingly correct us when we wander from God.

The final hallmark of genuine friendship is loyalty. True friends do not gossip, complain, or scheme against each other. They work together on the same team and walk together in faith and obedience to God. Our love for God pours out into our friendships as we love our friends sacrificially. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:12-13).

True, godly friendship does not come easily. This kind of edifying support comes only through time and effort. We must share experiences with someone to discern if they are a true friend. Many times we find false friends who desert us in our most desperate times or who break our confidences. But through time and the Holy Spirit’s discernment, we are able to weed out false friends from true ones and build friendships that will last through eternity.

Prayer: God, show me how I can be a better friend to those You have placed in my life. Show me the areas in which I can improve so that I can be a true friend to others. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:11-12).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Godly Friendships: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.



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