I’d like to suggest a simple view of relationships that has served me well. Years ago I attended a seminar in Colorado. I still remember hearing an explanation that there are basically four levels of friendships that become deeper and more significant as you grow. Level one is what is called an “acquaintance” friendship. This kind of friendship may be a colleague, classmate, work associate. You see them fairly regularly, but you don’t know much about them. At this level, your conversation tends to be something like, “how’s the weather?” Or “what do you think of the game last night?” Nothing personal, just general information.
As you grow deeper in the relationship you move to a “casual” friendship. This can develop quickly. You’ll discover common interests and activities. You might even be given permission to ask more personal questions. This could include asking about family, vacations, experiences. You’ll discover your friend’s strengths and weaknesses.
As you continue to grow, you move to a “close” friendship where you are now given permission to ask significant questions. Questions about values, purpose, hopes, dreams, hurts, and fears. At this point, there is a vulnerability that can draw you close together. Close friends often share the same life goals. It’s the idea of knowing someone and being known by someone. With each level, the number of people becomes smaller and smaller. In other words, you may have tons of acquaintances, a few less casual friends, and maybe just a handful of close friends.
The last level is called an “intimate” friendship. This is the deepest and most meaningful. It should be based on a commitment to invest in one another’s lives. You have the best interest of the other in your heart and it guides your interaction. You will help each other mature in character. You find yourself comforting each other, sacrificing for each other, correcting each other when necessary. You point out blind spots but are the first to love and encourage. In John 15:15 Jesus says, “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.” Seems to me, Jesus had this level of friendship with His disciples. Are there a few in your life? If not, pray with me…Dear Jesus, bring people into my life who I can invest in, that I can help mature and they can help me grow in Godly character. Lord, I need a friend like that. Lord, I want to be a friend like that.