In the last in our series on developing friendships, Jeff Kemp discusses three objections you must overcome.
This is the final post in this series. I hope you already have or are planning on taking a definitive step toward deepening your friendships. Why do I care about friendship? Because we are made and adopted by God to thrive in relationship with others. But that requires a tight team of intentional brothers, consistently connected Level 5 Friends. Today, men are being blitzed by father wounds, identity insecurity and masculinity confusion/bashing. We’re attacked by everything from a cut-throat culture to the digital poisoning of porn.
Just like in football, these blitzes offer opportunity for God to bring us together—to Him and to a brotherhood of real men. Our challenge is not just the loneliness caused by eroded community ties and the isolating forces of the economy and social media. Tragically, the word masculinity, which means strength that protects the vulnerable, comes with baggage after the #MeToo movement called out men’s self-centered abuse of power.
But this is why we need to revive the high standard of manhood—manhood in the model of Jesus, the quintessential man. He lived a masculinity that humbly depended on His Father and courageously channeled His strength for the weak, oppressed and particularly for the exploited women. He turned the world upside down through radical obedience to His Father and lifestyle of coming alongside flawed, driven men who wanted His greater calling.
The way to pull ourselves out of our small and damaged subjective narratives and isolating echo chamber is through something fun that we actually want. But, it’s something the enemy has convinced us to fear—deep, transparent friendship. It’s time for life-giving camaraderie, transforming teamwork and channeling our strengths for good.
God wants you to have real friendship. Men need friendship. We’re made in God’s image and He is a relational being. He instructs us to bear one another’s burdens, share one another’s joys, grieve together in our losses, and confess our weakness—our temptations, struggles and failures (sins) so we can heal and grow stronger. Men need close friendships with other guys because they can relate—they have the same dreams, vulnerabilities and struggles.
There are many kinds of friendships, but the best is not often practiced by enough men. For a few weeks, we’ve set our sights on 5 Levels of Friendshipand how to build them. Level 5 represents the life-giving commitment and men-transforming relational depth that we’re designed to live.
Level 5 – Deep Friendship –This friendship makes you better. It adds a purposeful commitment to loyally and consistently connect. You process your lives, disclose struggles, encourage and pray for each other, confess sins and erase secrets, benefit from accountability and pull each other closer to God. We’ve unpacked that kind of friendship in the last two posts. Let’s wrap up by tackling a few things that stop most guys from investing consistent time in developing intentional friendships.
3 Gut-Level Objections You Can Overcome
Not Another Meeting. The easy excuse is “I’m too busy and can’t fit another meeting into my busy life.” Answer: It’s friendship, not a meeting. Could you fit in 60 minutes a week for enjoyable friendship that improves your marriage, family and work life?
Will I get exposed? You may have been burned before. Maybe you’re afraid of being exposed as a failure or of having your private junk become public. You’re not alone, but if each friend agrees to be loyal, confidential and not a life guru trying to fix you, you’ll feel the freedom to be real and let your friends help you transform your life.
I can’t lead it. You’re not supposed to. It’s friendship, not a small group or teaching assignment. It’s we, not you and them. It’s not impressing, critiquing or fixing each other. You simply lean into a couple friends, clearly propose it and help the huddling together get started.
One last reminder…you have the perfect model to follow, who will guide and help you with this friendship. Jesus built deep friendships. He shared meals, grilled over campfires, and took his friends on intense boating adventures. He showed up at their work and walked with guys. He set up quiet retreats in the hills and a special farewell dinner. Before eating, Jesus, the leader of leaders, shocked his friends with a radical move. He stepped back from his spot near the head of the table, knelt at their feet, took a bowl of water and towel and washed their grimy feet. Jesus loved and led in the most faithful way possible—he served.
We may not have to watch the dusty sandals of our friends like Jesus did, but we can be authentic men. We thrive most when we make friendship a priority and create memorable experiences to connect with a group of guys. Together, we can follow Jesus’s example. Better yet, we can let Jesus transform everything in our lives, including our friendships.
Jeff Kemp was an NFL Quarterback and has extensively been involved in ministry, coaching, speaking and team building since his professional sports retirement. Jeff and his wife, Stacy, have been married 35 years and mentor young couples. They have four married sons and love tennis, skiing, and spending time with family. Find out more about Jeff and his ministry at his website.