I used to struggle with the feeling that I didn’t have those Front Row Friends that I could count on. Throughout my youth and even into my adult years, I often found myself in want of more reliable friendships, but unsure how to develop them. However, when I took an honest self-evaluation, I realized that it would have to start with me, and, if I wanted those FRFs in my life, I was going to have to start being an FRF to others. Implementing this new idea completely changed the way that I connect with people and has since led to stronger and deeper relationships in my life.
One of my favorite characterizations of God is found in Hebrews 12:29 when the author describes Him as a “consuming fire.” A consuming fire is a fire that destroys EVERYTHING in its path. If you’re someone who thinks that God is out to get you, then this might seem kinda scary. But, understanding this aspect of God’s love will help you form those FRF relationships, and it will better equip you to better become a FRF to others. Maybe you’ve heard of The Great Chicago Fire, one of the most destructive fires in history. This fire destroyed 1/3 of Chicago, left over 100,000 people homeless, and potentially killed hundreds of people. But one thing that caused this fire to spread so easily was a phenomenon known as a fire whirl. It’s like a tornado… but with fire! It's formed when superheated air rises and comes into contact with cold air. Talk about a consuming fire! THIS is how God is characterized?
At this point, you’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with a FRF?” But, if we’re going to learn what an FRF looks like, we’ve got to first learn how God loves us! His love is powerful. It climbs mountains, crosses oceans, and overcomes obstacles to be with you. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make, how far away you run, or how many times you doubt God. His love is unrelenting, and nothing can make Him change His mind about you. As the Shulamite woman wrote in Songs of Solomon 8, love is a fire that water cannot quench. God's love for you burns so strong. He loved you before you ever reciprocated that love. You didn’t deserve it, but He freely gave it!
If you’re looking for true FRFs, the key is to first become an FRF to others. We can definitely take a cue from God on this one. If His love for us is that unconditional, then we should let that challenge us to love others the same way. When you learn to be an FRF to others, your relationships will grow, and you’ll soon find those FRFs that you can count on in return. But the first step is to always love others the way that God loves you, like a consuming fire. As a FRF, you have a responsibility to love, encourage, and support others at all time. Don’t let anything stop you from being a FRF!