I want to be more like Jesus in my friendships. Being there for people in every circumstance of their lives. Being real in every situation of yours. Spending time with them. Modelling out a lifestyle that is different. Talking about our relationship with God in a way that is natural rather than forced. After all, I have been created as a relational being.

A few years ago I was in the midst of a difficult decision regarding my future. I had a choice to make and I was desperate to hear God’s voice in it all. I spent much time praying about it, thinking it through and chatting with trusted friends about it to try to discern God’s will for my life.

After a while I took the decision and was busy sharing about it with people at my church for the next wee while. I was making sure I sounded really spiritual about it. I kept mentioning words like prayer, discernment, will, dreams, passion and listening to God. Everyone seemed pretty impressed with my decision…and the way I went about it!

Around the same time I was playing a few frames of pool with a mate. I love this guy and know I can be myself with him. Plus, he has a good pool table too as well as Sky Sports so I like going round to his house. We watch and play sport together all the time. I would count on him as one of my best mates. We always have a laugh together.

And so he was asking me about this decision I had just taken regarding my future. Now me and this mate don’t have those type of conversations that include words like fasting, prayer, meditation and discernment. Sport is our thing. So I found myself coming off with an answer which included none of those words. Instead I said something like “I just thought it through and it felt right mate. Wanted some security, ya know? Same as anybody really.”

I knew instantly that I had failed my friend. I hadn’t been honest with him as a mate. To be honest, I was worried what his reaction would be if I told him the truth. So I avoided it all together.

As we played on, I knew that I wanted to share what had really been going on in my head. I kept missing shots and wondered if God was speaking to me!!! I knew I should be as open with him as I had been with my minister, my mum and my mentors. And so I went for it. As openly and as naturally as I could, I shared about what God had been laying on my heart and how I felt He wanted to use me in this next stage of my life. I went on to talk about how prayer was an instrumental part in the decision and of how I believed this was where He was leading me. I spoke of passions, dreams and desires.

He listened intently and we went on to have a very open and honest conversation. And we had so many more in the months that followed. Friends openly and honestly sharing their lives with one another. I’ve been sharing the things that God has been teaching me. We’ve been helping each other along the way I reckon.

And from that point on, I was determined that Jesus would become such a natural part of my conversation with my mates, no matter whether they followed Jesus or not. I wanted my life to be more open and my friendships real.

And that has meant that I’ve been spending more time playing pool, or at the gym, or grabbing a kebab, or watching football. And in all these places I’ve been seeing God at work in really simple yet special ways.

I mean, we hear all these evangelism training sessions and methods about picking the right moment to share your faith. To me that just seems false. None of us have to build up to talking about the film we saw last night or the football team we love. We just go for it…naturally. And so if we get excited about these things and share them easily, then why should it be different when it comes to talking about Jesus?

Cos He means more to me than any earthly thing and so I shouldn’t need to pluck up the courage to share that with those around me.

For too long we’ve been chucking tracts at people and ducking away from meaningful relationships. Let’s begin to allow God to be part of our everyday lives so much that we begin to journey alongside those who need us the most.

So who needs your friendship? Who has God been calling you to journey alongside? Who needs you to model out a life of Christ that is different to all they ever encounter?