At this point, it's hard to argue against the idea that a whole host of technological applications and tools have driven us more and more inward, away from real, physical, social points of contact. Every social survey results in Americans hitting the lowest levels of personal happiness and the highest levels of loneliness in the past century. Facebook and Instagram gives us the veneer of social interaction and engagement when they ultimately are acceptable forms of peacocking and peeping. The excitement of virtual reality and goal to be in every household leads people to stay in. Before, you'd be happy to get take-out sent to your house in 30 minutes to substitute a meal for the night. Now you can have a week's groceries sent to you so you never have to stand at a register again.
Now granted, you're probably not looking to be friends with the supermarket cashier. But what perhaps has changed as a cultural value is our definition of what makes a friend. In many ways, every person has the ability to make connections and be acquaintances with many people at once. What our culture might slowly be losing perhaps though is the ability to make deep, long-lasting friendships.
Friendships share a common horizon, walking toward the same goal. They may board at different ports but they disembark at the same place. (Get it? Friendship? You're welcome.) Acquaintances will want you because of what you offer, what you can give. If these are the companions you keep, they will wear you down and out because they are not going where you are headed. A friend walks with you to where it is you both desire to end up.
The beauty of gospel-centered friendships is that the horizon has been delineated for us. God has made clear that we are to be iron sharpening iron, loving one another so that we may each become more like Christ until the day when Christ returns and His Spirit transforms us to be finally and perfectly that. This is how God knits our heart in fellowship to one another, that we might stick close to one another to His glory. This is gospel-centered friendship.
Do you have this in your life? What would it look like to have these kinds of friends in your life? How might the Lord bring these people into your life? And what kind of barriers or blindspots might you have that keep you from engaging in these types of friendships?