John 15:12-14New International Version (NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
I recently reconnected with a friend of many years ago. I’m finding it a blessing. He challenged me with his own personal search. He asked, do I have a circle of true friends? That’s a question for us all isn’t it? What is a friend, who’s my true friend, what purpose does it serve? Am I that kind of friend?
Jesus says to love each other even as he loves us. Can we take that to heart? He loved in a manner that He gave his life for us. Can we seriously let the gravity of that sink in?
Let’s start with what is a friend. Well the bible says in Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” How about this in Romans 1:12 “That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
I’d say then that through thick and thin we have a bond that we love and care at all times, even those trying periods. We don’t give up on each other just because we hit a rough patch. You know what else my friend does, he encourages my faith. Oh, and I encourage him, support him, maybe challenge him. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
How about what a true friend is? Well, Proverbs 27:6 says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but, the kisses of the enemy are deceitful.” To say it another way, my friend will tell me like it is no matter how it may make me feel. The other people in my life, they might just tell me what I wanna hear, or perhaps even desire to persuade me over to another path that’s not going to be a good environment for me.
Let’s say it another way, what isn’t a friend. Proverbs 17:9 “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Hmm, a blabber mouth? Someone who’s a gossip? again, Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” How about this kind of individual? “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Are they friendly, or rude and dismissive? Think about your company because 1 Corinthians 15:33 says “Bad company ruins good morals”.
So what purpose do good friends have in my life? Hebrews 10:24-25 gives me some thought “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but, encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” We encourage each other! We care for each other and get involved in purpose filled activities. We meet together at lunch, festivities, church! We laugh together, cry together, lean on each other! You have today, but, that day will end! Make the most of it!
Finally am I that kind of friend? Well, we have to answer that. We have to hold ourselves accountable as well. Are we reaching out? Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” That means, get on the field of life and participate! Be that friend! You never know, you may be that friend or acquire that friend who sticks closer than a brother. I know that blesses my soul, would it you? Remember we are the Lord’s friends, if we follow His command.
Lord, I desire to follow your command. I thank you for being the friend who laid down his life for me. I pray you would impart your Spirit of courage to me so I may be that friend for others. I pray for wisdom in building those relationships and you would bring true friends into my life. I ask all this in your precious name, Amen.