Nothing is quite like the company of a good friend. It’s a feeling that can be a little difficult to explain, but I can equate it with doing some of my favorite things. I love cupcakes. Not the skinny, mini, or baby cupcakes (the ones I should like), but the big, scrumptious melt in your mouth ones, heavy on the frosting. For me, being with a friend is like enjoying my favorite cupcake (white wedding cake). Or let’s say, like curling up on an autumn day with a great book. Or maybe even a trip to my favorite store when they have a 75% off sale. As corny as it may seem, spending time with a real friend actually is much better than any of my favorite things to do. Yet, so many people really don’t experience the blessing of this type of relationship. I’m convinced that life can offer so much more when we are sharpened, strengthened, supported and loved by a true Christian friend. Conversely, we gain so much when we offer insight, strength, support and love to another.
My favorite friendship in the Bible is the relationship between Jonathan and David. There were fast friends but dear ones to one another. Jonathan, who would have been next in line to be king of Israel, befriended David anyway, understanding that because of his father’s disobedience to God, David would be king. When Saul pursued David to kill him, Jonathan helped him escape, and even confronted his father about his assault on David. As a result, Saul also turned his wrath towards his son. Yet, Jonathan truly loved David as he loved himself (I Samuel 18:3). Aside from their commonality in their love for God, they also both viewed each other as brothers and were loyal.
Loyalty almost seems like an outdated word today, but its value is immeasurable. We show our character, commitment and love when we stick with friends during hard times. While many may disperse when trouble strikes, a real friend runs to help when calamity strikes. Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (NLT).
In the NIV translation of the same verse, it says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” We also show our loyalty to our friends when we are trustworthy. True friends love and are trustworthy. You can confide in them, knowing that what is said to them will be kept between them. Nothing destroys trust faster than a friend who betrays confidences by having loose lips. If we desire meaningful, lifelong friendships, we must know how to keep quiet—no matter how much we may want to share.
Another thing that we have to careful not to do if we desire real, true friends is to be aware of our conversation. Sometimes I talk to people, and they’re like faucets. Their mouths are in a state of constant motion, always talking about themselves, their problems, their victories. You know how a faucet can’t suck water up, only spews it out. Well, these types of folks don’t have a desire to come outside of themselves to listen, care, and understand what someone else might be going through. Undoubtedly, these types of people don’t have too many real friends, if any at all. They often find that others simply tolerate them. I do have to add that the amazing thing is—often, they don’t notice because they’re so wrapped up in themselves!
You’ve probably heard at least one of these scriptures from Proverbs: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted,” or “Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” In other words, we need friends who will tell us the truth, even if it hurts. We should beware if we’re surrounded by “yes” people. If people always think everything we do, say, and feel is right, we really should question that relationship. A true friend doesn’t want us to err and will risk our possibly unhappiness with them to do what’s right for us in the long run.
Finally, the aim of a real friend is to build up, not tear down. When jealousy and envy rear their ugly heads in relationships, destruction is imminent. The root of the problem really has everything to do with the jealous or envious person’s relationship with Christ. When we’re not grounded in Him, we’re like fish trying to survive out of water, flapping around aimlessly for security in people and things that will never provide the validation and self-esteem desired. Jealous and envious “frenemies” are dangerous and obviously should be avoided at all costs.
If we examine our lives and find that we need a friend, we need to remember that we need to be a friend first (Proverbs 18:24). Be prayerful, and let God show you who you can trust. Don’t be confined by what you see in the natural (remember a friend of the world is an enemy of God); focus on sharpening your spiritual eye to see what you can give to another and gain from their insight. Life will be much sweeter with a friend. And just like a cupcake, a true friendship is sweet, uplifting, and satisfying—minus the calories:).
~Blessings and Love~
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