10 Marks of True Spiritual Friendship

If you’re looking to form healthy Christian friendships, learn how these marks of true Christian friendship can help you build strong spiritual friendships.

If you're looking to form healthy Christian friendships, learn how these marks of true Christian friendship can help you build strong spiritual friendships.


I can still remember the disappointment in my 14-year-old cousin’s words: “You have really nice friends. Mine are crummy.”  Right then, as a young teen, I realized two essentials about friendship. First, a good friend is a treasured blessing. And second, friendship doesn’t just happen; we have to cultivate it.

In a world dominated by likes and followers, real friendship is such a gift.  Girlfriends we can do life with, who get us and see parts of our heart and soul no one else does, make life sweet.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .’”  C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

True friendship moves us past small talk and surface answers and into soul nourishment. We get past the veneer and can share side-splitting laughs as much as we share hopes and struggles.

So much in our world works against forming healthy christian friendships – our crazy busy schedules, cross country moves and subbing online interaction for in real life friendship.


But God did not create us to do life alone. He put us in community. Spiritual good friends won’t just happen. First, we have to BE the kind of friend we want to have.


Then, we need to ask – What does God say about friendship?

10 Marks of True Spiritual Friendship

What does God say about friendship? Read these marks of true Christian friendship that will help you build spiritual good friends.


  1. A real friend shares the same truth. Godly girlfriends have more in common than same-aged kids or similar hobbies. Friendship will go deepest when friends share the same beliefs and want the same things out of life. 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”


  1. A real friend goes the distance. A real friend will walk with us through the hard.  They will not only laugh with us in the sunshine but stand with us in the rain. Or offer an umbrella. And walking through the hard won’t kill the friendship; it will deepen it.  Proverbs 17:17 “A friend is made for adversity.”  


  1. A real friend listens well and counsels well. Sometimes, we just need someone to hear us. How many times have you worked something out just by talking it out? Real friends get that. But there are also times we need solid godly counsel. Real friends can be counted on to listen well and counsel well. Proverbs 27:9 “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”


  1. A real friend keeps confidences.  This is so important. We need to know we’re safe. That when we vulnerably share our struggles and our mess-ups, they won’t be used against us.  Proverbs 16:28 “…a gossip separates close friends.”


  1. A real friend picks right up where she left off 6 months ago.  Isn’t it crazy how months can pass before we’re able to pick up the phone and call that cherished friend or meet for that longed-for coffee? True soul friends can push pause after every conversation and pick right back up the next time they’re together. Proverbs 18:24 “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”


How do you build a spiritual friendship? Use these marks of true Christian friendship to build healthy Christian friendships.


  1. A real friend can say hard things. A few years ago, a dear friend was making some bad choices with bad consequences.  Only a true friend will risk saying what needs to be said. Deep friendship can buffer hard truth. Proverbs 27:6 “wounds from a friend can be trusted.”


  1. A real friend knows being there is enough. We can’t always fix things, but we can be there. We can listen, we can love and we can pray. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one. . .if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”


  1. A real friend celebrates rather than compares. She is genuinely happy for your blessings. Rather than sink into envy, she will encourage and share your delight in God’s goodness. Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”


  1. A real friend forgives. Expectations can wipe out a friendship. Even in a good friendship, we can forget to call back or fail to realize a friend’s need. True Christian friends need to be quick to apologize and quick to forgive. Proverbs 17:9 “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends.”


  1. A real friend makes you a better person each time you’re together. It’s true. Godly girlfriends make you a better mom, wife, Christ follower. Their conversation is refreshing and time spent together is a filling of the soul. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”


Praise God He’s given us friends to do life with – to laugh and cry and struggle and rejoice and pray together.  What about you? What would you add to this list of true Christian friendship?



Lisa Appelo is a single mom of 7 and unexpected widow, crazy in love with Christ. She writes about God’s faithfulness in the hard and in everyday goodness.  You can connect with her at www.TrueandFaithful.net and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trueandfaithful/

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  1. Wow! Araba. I’m sitting here in the kitchen of my “forever” friend. We’ve been friends since 1982 and we’ve gone through so much. It is true treasured friends are a treasure, but I couldn’t help but remembering my Lord and Savior whispered in my ear over 40 years ago – “I call you friend.” (John15:15)

  2. Thank you so much!!! I have a friendship with a friend for 30 years n i struggle with it always… It is a love / hate relationship… Their has never been anydepth to it, n she thinks that is fine, an i don’t. Then i have 4 soul sisters who are there for me; we Bless each other… God put us together as a church group with hubbys. It is so good. I feel bad about the first relationship because it messes with my mind when ever we are in contact with them. Thanks for the wonderful message.

  3. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. I’m very blessed to have my best friend, we share chronic pain & our love for God. We’ve seen each other through many operations, a cancer diagnosis & unemployment. Even though we only live 1/2 mile from each other we text & talk to each other every day & she is an inspiration to me with how strong her faith is. I’ve learned so much from her!

  4. I received your blog site from a friend who is a member in our small group of 11 ladies called ‘Rest Easy’ in which we try to connect every 5-6 weeks in this busy world by sitting down face-to-face for encouragement, conversation and Christ’s blessings through friendship! I appreciate so much your description of true friendship. I believe this is what we have found as well in our sisterhood of Christian fellowship and friendship. Thank you for putting it into words so well.

  5. So happy to be guest posting with you today! Thank you for allowing me to write about godly friendships and interact with the community at Arabah Joy. Friends are such a gift from God that help make this life sweet. Blessings to you and your readers!

  6. Love this list, Lisa. It’s spot-on. Truly good friendships are like gold or silver: precious. Sometimes, to find those friendships, we have to step out of our comfort zones. But oh, the reward! xo

  7. True friendships are gold, aren’t they. One of my closest friends is 20 years younger – but the age/stage of life is inconsequential. We lovingly support one another, praying in the hard, celebrating the joys. We only enjoy coffee together in person every couple of months or so, but texting is a marvellous way to connect every week, or every day sometimes in between. Thank you for the reminders of how to have true, deep friendships.

  8. God bless you Lisa.
    You just said it all here in one post. Love what you said here ” A real friend makes you a better person each time you’re together”
    I have my own soul friend for two years now and He has really made me a better person.

  9. This Article Explained it all in few sentences… I found this so helpful and also as a guide to my way of life… Thanks for sharing lisa

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