Friendship

Proverbs 18:24

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

I believe it safe to say that we are living in unprecedented times.  The “15 days to slow the spread” has turned into 8 months with no sign of any relief.  A lot of people have cancelled their Thanksgiving plans and now Christmas plans are being reconsidered as well.  On top of the pandemic we are dealing with chaos, anarchy, and violence publicly being demonstrated in the streets of our major cities.  Oops, I almost forgot.  2020 is an election year. 

When will this nightmare end?  In March, a common phrase was “back to normal”.  Unfortunately, we do not hear those words very often any more.  Will we ever get “back to normal”?  While I do not have the answer to that question, I do know one thing.  Everything that has happened in 2020 can divide, separate, and isolate us if we allow it to.  That is very dangerous.  We are social creatures and we need human interaction.  In short, we need friends now more than ever.  God has given us a wonderful blueprint here in our verse today for strong friendship.

  1. You and your FriendsA man that hath friends
    In this short Proverb, the subject of friendship is covered from three vantage points.  The first one is personal and has to do with our desire.  We all want friends.  No one can deny that.  We would much rather be someone who has friends than someone who does not have friends.  As we can see from the remainder of this verse, it is not enough to just want friends.  We have a responsibility concerning friendship.
  1. You and your Friendlinessmust shew himself friendly
    This is a very clear conditional statement.  It takes our personal desire and turns it into an external duty.  Ask yourself this question.  “Am I a friendly person?”  Answer honestly.  To have friends you must be friendly.  Praise the Lord for those people in our lives who were friendly and reached out to us and made us their friends.  Now, we must do the same for others.  People need friends and what better friends could they gain than believers?
  2. You and your Friendshipthere is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother
    Every believer who reads this verse thinks of the same thing.  Jesus is that Friend!!  We ought to rejoice in that truth.  As the songwriter said, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”  But, wait a moment.  There is a responsibility that goes with this truth.  It is a spiritual declaration.  My outward connection to others reflect the strength of my relationship with my Forever Friend.  My Heavenly Father wants me to be friendly and to make friends for His honor and glory.  The gospel is spread through human connection and interaction.  We must be friendly to others in order to introduce then to Jesus, the dearest Friend they will ever have.

As you can see, God’s blueprint for friendship puts the responsibility on each one of us as individual believers.  Friendship is an active endeavor, not a passive one.  We cannot control how others treat us or how they will respond to us.  All we can do is obey what God has given us to do and let Him control the results.  I must be friendly.  I must be a friend.  I must show the world around me that I have a healthy relationship with the greatest Friend the human race has ever know.  His name is Jesus.  I hope this will challenge all of us concerning the matter of friendship.  You can never have too many real friends and someone out there needs you to be theirs.

photo credit: Kelly Morton

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