November 18, 2014 by maryruwe
F R I E N D S
Last week we had a friend visit us from out of town. He was attending a conference and took time from his busy schedule to come see us. Though the time was short we had a really nice visit. So then I began to think about all the friends that we have; we meaning you and me. We have friends at work, friends in our neighborhood, friends at church, and friends from school. Some we have known since childhood, others we met as adults. We travel with some friends, shop with friends, and play cards or maybe golf with others. We attend sports events with them and have them over for dinner. Truly friends are blessings from God. Some friends seem closer to us than our natural brothers or sisters.
Several years ago when my life seemed so full of disappointments and struggles I had developed a habit of using the word “stupid” quite a lot. Now at the time I actually hadn’t even notice it, I sorry to say. But a close friend did notice and her comment was, “you should watch your mouth”. At first it shocked me because after all I hadn’t said any “bad” words! Then my eyes were opened to how much I had just let my emotions and stress form my words. This is not necessarily a good thing. We should let the Word of God be the basis for our words. Her comment put me back on track; faithful are the wounds (or correction) of a friend, Proverbs 27:6. I asked God to forgive me and to help me monitor every word I was about to speak; meaning to think before I spoke. Speaking slower will help you do this. Now I come from a long family history of just “saying it how it is”, so this was a major drawback in my life and an obstacle to overcome. But God’s grace has been sufficient and He has worked in my life, in my heart, and in my words to conform me into His Image. I may still slip from time to time but I praise God that I’m not where I use to be. Glory be to His Name.
Proverbs 18:24 tells us that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. This verse also says that to have friends one must himself be a friend. So we see that good, solid, long-lasting friendships are not one-sided but mutual in caring for each other. So this brings us to the part of making choices. How do we choose good friends? The Bible does give us some insight on this matter. Second Corinthians 6:14 tells us to, “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers”. Now this doesn’t mean we can’t have friends who are unbelievers; we should, how else can we evangelize the world and show them that God loves them. However, our close friends should be those who are of God’s family so that when we are in need of prayer, advice, counsel or a word of correction or encouragement spoken to us, it will be based on the Word of God. We are also instructed in Proverbs 22:24 to “make no friendship with an angry man”. Again this in regard to close friendships and the reason for this is because we tend to pick up the habits of those we associate with. Galatians 5:9 tells us that a “little leaven leavens the whole lump”. So if you don’t want anger to be one of the characteristics that you are known for, don’t always hang out with those who are so negative and angry. It’s that simple.
We learn in James 4:4 that to, “be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God”. This is talking about living like the world lives instead of living according to the Word of God. Being gossipers, thieves, adulterers and adulteresses, liars, bitter, jealous, or envious (the list goes on), should not be our lifestyle.
Now let’s go back to the one who sticks closer than a brother; this is Jesus. He is the best friend anyone can have and should have. He was such a good friend that He layed down His life for us, his friends, even before we knew him (John 15:13). Can’t get any better than that! Some of you who think you’ve done so much wrong might be wondering if God really does want to be friends with you. The answer it a resounding YES! In Exodus 33:11 we see that the Lord spoke to Moses “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”. Also James 2:23 tells us that Abraham was called a friend of God. This is before Jesus went to the Cross, so obviously He still wants to be friends with us; He sent Jesus for us.
I thank God for all my friends; each is special to me. I mostly thank God for Jesus, my closest friend. He died for my sins (John 3:16); and He lives to make intercession for me (Hebrews 7:25); that the good work He has begun in me will be complete (Philippians 1:6).
I pray that each of you know Jesus as your Savior and count Him as a close friend.