The Gift of Friendship

    SEARCHLIGHT 

    Do you know how to be a true-blue friend?

    SCRIPTURE

    “ONE WHO LOVES A PURE HEART AND WHO SPEAKS WITH GRACE WILL HAVE THE KING FOR A FRIEND.” Proverbs 22:11 NIV

    “GOD LOVES THE PURE-HEARTED AND WELL-SPOKEN; GOOD LEADERS ALSO DELIGHT IN THEIR FRIENDSHIP.” Proverbs 22:11 Message

    SPOTLIGHT

    Why is man’s best friend considered to be a dog? Someone said, “Because a dog wags his tail instead of his tongue.” The “title” for man’s best friend, “goes to the dogs.” Why? Because a dog is a protector/life saver, just like a seeing eye dog. A dog is also a provider/helper, offering valuable services. He is patient, as seen by how he waits for you to return home, wagging his tale and barking enthusiastically. He never asks for more, and never criticizes you. And do not overlook the fact that a dog is present with you. He is always there and always accepting. Never does he pretend to like you. Neither does a dog care how much money you make, or what you look like. The fact is, a dog gives you unconditional love, loyalty and companionship. Don’t forget a dog is playful, always ready to have fun, anytime. Does the “title” for man’s best friend really, “go to the dogs?”

    Should the “title” for man’s best friend really, “go to the dogs?” Christian friendship offers far more than a dog does. Just read the above Scriptures. Who would not want to have a pure-hearted, well-spoken person for a friend? Even national leaders desire that type of a person to be their friend. Allow me to explain why; so that you can give THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP to people, and also be aware as to how to wisely choose your friends.

    First and foremost, Christian friendship offers objectivity. This is a very special part of the gift. Objectivity is the ability to make wise decisions, having viewed a situation from all possible perspectives. God designed you to be wise, but you will need friendship to get there. Wisdom and understanding are provided by Christian friends. The Bible tells us that;

    1. Counsel and sound judgment make you powerful. Read Proverbs 8:14.
    2. Plans fail because of a lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed. Read Proverbs 5:22.
    3. Insight from another perspective is so valuable. Read Proverbs 22:20.
    4. Wounds from a friend can be trusted. Read Proverbs 27:5,6.
    5. Friendly suggestions are like sweet perfume. Read Proverbs 27:9.

    Too many friends give advice, rather than Godly counsel. They provide pats on the back, rather than loving wounds. They agree too quickly, rather than be willing to get involved. You do not need a pat on the back, opinions, or agreement. A dog does that. What you need is, objectivity. You need someone who will help you see 360 degrees. Proverbs 27:17 says, “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We all need sharpening. One of God’s precious gifts is a friend who will lovingly challenge your thinking …behavior… attitudes… and actions.

    Secondly, Christian friendship provides wholeness. God is so desirous of you living a life that is well-balanced, complete and together. He wants you to be whole, but you will need friendship to get there. The Bible tells us that:

    1. God created man in His image, male and female, He created them. Genesis 1:26,27.
    2. God wants your life to be abundantly full,{complete.} John 10:10.
    3. God gives you fullness,{completeness,} through Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:9,10.
    4. God created His family of believers to enjoy, KOINONIA, which is life’s most beneficial friendship. Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 6:10.

    You can only become whole and well balanced when you first make Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord. This allows Him to change you, and infuse you, with Holy Spirit power. Then you must not overlook Christian friendship, which also gives the gift of wholeness, completeness, healing and balance.

    Many shootings are taking place in the USA. Do you remember Columbine High School, the Amish children, Virginia Tech 2007, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Las Vegas concert, and Parkland Florida High School, just to name a few? Two things stand out to me about all the mass killers;     

    1.  They were not whole, complete and well balanced, but very angry and embittered.
    2.  They did not have meaningful friendships, but blamed society and people.

    Christian connection makes you healthy. You grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Think about the chain reaction for a moment. Jesus Christ’s friendship makes people healthy. Christian friends make people healthy. Healthy people make a healthy church. A healthy church makes a healthy society. You need connection. You must avoid disconnection. Read Hebrews 10:24,25, which will give you a friendship job description. A Yale study found that staying in touch with family and friends, or belonging to a church, or group, keeps a person from premature death. Isolation leads to a greater risk of mortality.

    Thirdly, Christian friendship provides prayer. Friends joining you in prayer over your struggles is so powerful. Jesus spoke about the power and strength when  2 or 3 people agree together in prayer. Read Matthew 18:19,20; Romans 15:30-33, and 2 Corinthians 1:11. Good friends are good prayer partners. A dog cannot come into the presence of Almighty God with faith on your behalf. A Christian friend confidently prays for you because he/she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you give this prayer gift to your friends? Do you meet with people who will pray for you?

    This wonderful gift of Christian friendship does not come from meeting at the bar, but meeting at church. Neither does it happen by participating in sports, but by participating in small groups. Christians should play together, but more importantly, pray together. They may go together on a vacation, but they greatly benefit far more by going together on a mission trip. Christian friends just do not watch people minister, but enjoy serving together in ministry with others.

    Christian friendship is so much better than non-Christian friendship. Why? Because two Christians are really three friends since Jesus Christ is with them. In addition, they have similar priorities. Secular friendship says, “take care of #1,” meaning me, but Christian friendship says my priority is  j-o-y, which means Jesus first, others second, and you last. Jesus Christ said, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one can lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command.” John 15:12-14

    SOMETHING TO DO

    Here are 3 ways to express the valuable gift of friendship to the people you call friends. Give:

    1. Objectivity – I will give you Godly wisdom, not my opinions.
    2. Wholeness – I will give you Godly balance, not my feelings.
    3. Prayer – I will give you earnest prayer, not my optimism.

    SOUL TIME PRAYER

    Today, Heavenly Father, I come into Your presence knowing that You are my very best Friend. Help me to be the friend You desire me to be. I want my friends to come to know You better because of my friendship with You, and my friendship with them. AMEN!

     

    © 2022 Crossroads Community Cathedral