Character Trait No. 28
Definition: Extending my life to a friendship by receiving a person with the attitude: What is God doing in his life? How can I help?
“A man of many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Prov.18:24
Friendship is much mentioned in the scriptures. Here are some additional passages that stand out concerning friendship:
- “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Prov.27:6
- “A friend loves at all times...” Prov.17:17
Other Proverbs speak of the poor man having no “friends”, while the wealthy have many such fair-weather “friends” The word here means “companions” rather than close and trusted friends. A man can have many companions, but few close bosom buddies. Such pals for life are rare as rubies and as valuable as a waterhole in the desert.
Jonathan was one such friend. He’s already been featured as a prime example of a faithful man. (When we considered that character trait. - No. 24). A still greater example of a faithful friend is that of Abraham, who was even called a friend of Almighty God Himself:
“But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend...” Isa.41:8
What a great honor to be called a friend of God! Considering the faith of Abraham, one can understand why so. God likes faith! He honors those who honor, love and obey Him.
In like manner Jesus called His twelve apostles friends:
“You are my friends, if you do what I have commanded you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.” John15:14-16
Here we can clearly see that friends do what is both needed and wanted. They enable and empower you. A man with many good friends is very blessed because he then has the needed help to accomplish great goals for God. Without such friends, the workload would crush anyone’s lofty ideals and high goals of achievement. As the old cliche goes, “No man is an island”.
Friends really enjoy our company, and share our ideals and values. Read with me the beautiful verses in Philippians 2:1-5 as an excellent recipe for true lasting friendship in Christ:
- “If there is any encouragement in Christ...” – Do you give and receive encouragement
- “...if there is any consolation of love..” Do you console others when they are suffering or sad?
- “...any affection and compassion...” How affectionate, demonstratively, are you? How are your listening and nursing skills? (Remember John laid his head on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper).
- “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, intent on one purpose.” Do you try very, very hard to understand and share the same thoughts and intentions as your friends? Or are you always contradicting them, and one-upping them to make them look less wise as you?
- “Do nothing (does nothing really mean nothing?), from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Becoming a real “Jonathan” type friend means adopting this attitude. If you want great friends, then you must concentrate on being one. Give and you shall receive back one hundred times as much. Be for others what you want them to be for thee. “Do unto others...” Friends can then both be found and made. Making friends is a very important skill:
“And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into eternal dwellings.” Lk.16:9
Friendship is of God. He called Abraham a friend. He called His disciples friends. The Lord is not ashamed to call those who are sanctified His brethren, (Heb.2:11), and He’s truly “the friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It should be our goal to copy the friendship of Christ with His original disciples and excel that of Abraham with God. Of course, if we cannot be good friends with our fellow saints who we can see, then how will we be friends of God, whom we cannot see?
Work on your friendship skills by becoming a loyal listener, a compassionate comforter, and an unselfish giver. Learn to be there when it counts, without thought as to your own personal gain or loss. People in need really do need a friend indeed! Imitate Christ who provided His Spirit - the Parakletos - the Helper/Comforter/Advocate/Counselor. Jn.16:7 Don DeWelt called Him - the “Second Jesus”. As the old song lyrics go, “You just call on His name, wherever you’ve been and He’ll come a calling – you’ve got a friend!”
That, dear Saint, is something worth imitating today to gain more of the perfect character of Christ.