Friday, May 28, 2010

There is a Friend

Proverbs 18:24 "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

As women, we know that friendship is an important part of our lives. We are blessed to know that the Bible has much to say concerning friendship and those we choose as friends.

Not surprisingly, the Bible is concerned with our holiness and God's glory, not with our popularity or self promotion. This flies in the face of the goals of the world, where ladies dress, speak and act in ways that will allow them to be accepted by the most people.

Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." It reminds us that the secret is not to gather as many friends as possible, but, rather, we are to find a true friend who will be a friend through all seasons, a friend who sticks closer than a brother. A true agape love of sacrificial consideration will be the foundation for this friendship--a Philippians 2 type of mentality.

Most of all, though, this friend needs to primarily love God and seek His glory above all else. Even our choice in friends needs to be rooted in righteousness and wisdom. Philippians 12:26 explains, "A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray." We all know that we are affected by the words and actions of those closest to us. God reminds us that a righteous man cautiously chooses with whom he will fellowship, but sinners haphazardly befriend whomever comes along, being led further astray by the other sinners with whom they party, gossip and "hang."

How do we know if our friends truly love God and want to glorify Him? Proverbs gives us some insight into their actions and words.

Proverbs 27:6 tells us, "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." The idea of a friend wounding us doesn't sound very, well, friendly; but what the Word of God is saying is that a friend will tell us truth and admonish us. We need to find friends who use scripture, not opinion, to encourage, counsel and correct us. On the other hand, God tells us that "friends" who flatter us time and time again, even when we are sinning, are our enemy! They cannot be trusted because they are not concerned with the righteousness of God. If your friends are not confronting you in love, you are not growing and they are not spurring you on to be like Christ.

Proverbs 22:4 explains further, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered." Are we all going to have moments where we sin in anger? Unfortunately, we are. I pray we are all growing in this area. However, the Bible warns us about befriending someone with patterns of anger in them. Do you have a friend who is always put off, offended, feeling slighted, bitter or holding grudges? Like a hot-tempered person, this type of friend is concerned about themselves, not God. When we see patterns of sensitivity, bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness, we know that an individual is concerned about her own feelings rather than God's commands. She needs a good dose of humility and repentance before she will be a righteous and fruitful friend.

Finally, Proverbs 27:9 says, "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel." Earnest counsel means telling the truth when advice is being given. As Christians, we define truth as Biblical truth. Are your friends giving you opinions or looking to God's Word to give you wisdom and answers? There is no other compass to follow than the Bible. If a friend is steering you by popular opinion or feelings, then this is not a friend who gives earnest counsel. In God's Word, we see what a disaster bad counsel can bring when Solomon's son, Rehoboam, leans on the opinion of his young, foolish "friends" rather than the wise, tested counsel of his father's elders. (I Kings 12) This lapse in judgement of his friends ulimately caused the separation of Israel from the tribe of Judah. The counsel you receive is very important, so do not underestimate the effect your friends' words have on your behavior.

Ultimately, ask yourself this, "Do my friends put God first in their lives? Do I see fruit in their actions and speech? Do I constantly feel guilty and ashamed or edified and built up in God when I leave after time with my friends?

Is there a place for non-Christians in our lives? Of course there is! We are to have aquantainces with whom we can share the gospel. Our time spent with them should primarily be just this--sharing the gospel and witnessing of their need for a Savior. They should not be our best friend, and we should not be walking into sin with them so we can "be their friend" in hopes of one day bringing them to Christ. Just as "missionary dating" doesn't work, having good friends who are lost in their sin never pans out either. You, as a Christian, are living for and serving God. You are an alien of this world. They are children of darkness and living for themselves. They hate the light and find little issue with sin. How can we be so unequally yoked? The truth is, we can't without compromise and sin on our own part.

It might seem a bit daunting to shake up some of your friendships and seek out godly ones who desire righteousness for themselves and you. It is vital, though. The Bible urges us to seek out friends cautiously because it is so important. Desire a love for God, righteousness, love, faithfulness and humility in your friends. If you seek God's wisdom and leading, you will find there is such a friend waiting to meet you.

Ephesians 5
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Pastor Mike gave a much more concise, better written explanation of this point. Read it here at