Blake Allen, Student and Outreach Minister, LHBC
24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Friends, the ones we can depend on. Friends, how many of us have them?
This 1984 classic is one of the best songs written in my opinion. And when you consider the lyrics by Whodini, you’ll realize just how true some of the lyrics are. Consider a few lines:
- Now you can look the word up, again and again
But the dictionary doesn’t know the meaning of friends
In other words, friendship is not something you can just easily define. It is something that has to be experienced and discovered.
- Some you grew up with, around the way
And you’re still real close too this very day
I still today have a friend in my life that I have known since elementary school. We were the best of friends, he was my best man at my wedding, and we still keep in touch today though we live in different states.
- Homeboys through the Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall
And then there’s some we wish we never knew at all
If we are honest, we have all had people come into our lives at some point that we initially thought would be good friends, but turned out to be the opposite.
Friends are important. We all need good friends who are believers. In fact, they are so important that the book of wisdom speaks frequently about friends. “Wisdom is called a friend (7:4), a friend loves at all times (17:17), everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts (19:6), a person with gracious speech has the king as his friend (22:11), faithful are the wounds of a friend (27:6), the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel (27:9), and do not forsake your friend and father’s friend (27:10).”
Our culture has devalued the value of friendship, and we need to recover a Biblical understanding of the importance of friendship. We live in a day where face to face conversations have been replaced by text or picture messages. We no longer pick up the phone to get life updates from our friends; we turn to Facebook for life updates on people. We find our value in the amount of Facebook friends we have. It’s ironic that I have over 2,000 “friends” on Facebook but I only do life together with a handful of those.
Artist’s may gather thousands of fans but not thousands of true friends. Sports teams may consider themselves family but how much time can Drew Brees spend with 52 other players off the field, and how much of his personal life does he share with each of them?
The reality is we may know many people but there are few who we bring to the table and invite into our mess. Jesus, himself, had thousands of followers but only 12 disciples. And, out of the 12, only 3 were a part of Jesus’ inner circle (Peter, James, and John).
If Jesus the savior had close friends, how much more do we need people in our life who will love, care for, help, and encourage us? This life was meant to be lived in community. This is why God states in Genesis 2:18, “it is not good for man to be alone.” Although this is in the context of God providing a companion for Adam in marriage, God knew not every single person he created would marry when stating this. In fact, Scripture highlights the value of singleness time and time again. But whether single or married, Scripture is clear that we all need companionship/friendship; people to do life with.
According to Proverbs 18:24, a friend is closer than a brother. This is a draw dropping, bold statement to make on the surface. But when you really think about it….it’s true. Sure, you can be friends with your siblings, but being related by blood doesn’t define friendship. It’s the stories shared, the tears shed together, the laughter experienced together, the late night hangouts, the encouragement received from one another, the prayers for one another exchanged, etc.
We all need friends. And thankfully, Jesus is the ultimate example of what it means to be a friend. He accepted us despite us. Jesus was identified as a friend of sinners (Luke 7:34). He laid down his life for us so that we could have a relationship with God. He went to battle with sin and death on our behalf. He rescued us from a terrible situation. He forgives us when we fail and shows us grace when we don’t deserve it. He is a true friend.
He extends the invitation to be a part of His family, and to be His friend. If you haven’t already, will you place faith in Him and experience the joy of being a friend of Jesus?
If you have, continue to live in communion with Him and other believers who will encourage you. Befriend those who are lost and lead them to the friend of sinners–Jesus. Influence them with the Gospel and don’t be influenced by their sinful activities, “for bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Find a friend and be a friend. “For a friend is closer than a brother.”
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank you for the friendship we have in you. May we continually live in community with you and other like-minded believers. May we also befriend those who are lost and lead them to the joys of knowing you, a friend of sinners. Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Hebrews 1:3– 3
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high