April 8, 2019 by maryruwe
I heard a message about friendships and decided to write some of my thoughts on the subject. The word friend is used throughout the entire Bible. However, today the word friend is even used to describe a person we hardly know. If we don’t know much about a person and they don’t know much about us, are we friends, or just acquaintances? Certainly, would not be considered close friends, right? Let’s look at it this way: we all have neighbors because of living in the same vicinity but if we don’t know anything about them – even their name – we probably wouldn’t call them a friend. No offense is meant; I’m just trying to point out that just because we know “of” a person doesn’t mean we know them personally.
This is true spiritually too. Just because a person knows of God, that He is the Creator, doesn’t mean they know Him personally as their Heavenly Father. To know God personally as Father one must accept Jesus His Son as Savior. The more we know about God, the better we know Him, the easier it is to obey Him. When we realize (know) how much He loves us and all that He has done for us, the more we want to love and serve Him by obeying Him. It’s that simple.
Abraham was called a friend of God because he took the time to talk with Him and know Him. If we want to be considered a friend of God then we must take the time to get to know Him. It’s the time spent in getting to know someone that will solidify the relationship, changing it from the level of an acquaintance to the level of friendship.
James 2:23 tells us that it was because Abraham believed God, he was called righteous and called a friend of God. In Acts 13:22 we see that God called David a man after his own heart because He knew that David would obey him. From these two examples, we see that to really be a friend of God we must believe Him and obey Him. Does that mean we have to be perfect? No. Neither Abraham or David were perfect in all their actions but their hearts were perfect toward God, in loving God.
This is where we must begin too; by learning who God is and what He does and wants to do. Then we must examine our heart and thoughts to see whether they line up with His Word. It’s our decision whether we know God only as the Creator, or as our Heavenly Father who gives us redemption in Jesus His Son. John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 teach that the only way to the Father (God) is through Jesus.
In regard to our relationships with others, the Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:24 that if we want to have friends, we must show ourselves to be friendly, and that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. The friend who sticks with us through everything – no matter what; this closer friend – is JESUS. To be a good friend we must look for the good in others. Barnabas is a good example. He saw the good in Saul/Paul when no one else wanted to believe that Saul had become a believer. Then we again see Barnabas reaching out in favor of taking Mark on a missionary trip when Paul didn’t. (Acts 9:1-5, 26-27; Acts 15:36-40)
The Bible also tells us that we can’t be a friend of the world and a friend of God at the same time. (James 4:4) Second Corinthians 6:14 also teaches us,
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
The world’s way of doing things is the opposite of how God does things. This is not to say that we can’t have a relationship with an unbeliever, it means that our primary close friendships should be with believers. God’s ways are higher than man’s. (Isaiah 55:8-9) We must make the decision daily to choose God and His Word (ways), and when we do, we make our way prosperous and will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
We need to learn to believe in God, trust in God and obey God, and when we do, we will learn how to be a good friend, how to choose our friends, and how to please God with our friendships. Have a great week.