A man who hath friends must show himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
True friends, those who will stick by you when “push comes to shove”,(apologies for the overused expression), are those who are most like Christ himself. Christ is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and Christians, Christ-like people, are to be a reflection of Him. The world, as in: secularists, humanists, atheists, pantheists, agnostics, astrologists, and those who aren’t quite sure what they are, cannot inderstand what is a real friendship. Going back to the old standby, the New Oxford American Dictionary, we see your normal, everyday sort of friend described thusly.
- A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
- Someone who is not an enemy.
For the first definition, it sounds as if a friend is something mechanical rather than personal; something seen but not felt. If all it takes to be a friend is to be known and liked with moderate affability and admiration, then why bother even giving it a name. A friend equals companionship, comradary, trust, and a connection to something that is more powerful than anything else in the world, the love that is Jesus Christ. If you love God, you will love others, for God is love. Love lives inside of you, how can you contain a force that existed before time and space?
But, to everyone else–those who have never experienced this inner-living love– the concept of friendship extends about as far as a mutual relationship for the benefit of both parties. Trust is optional.
As the saying goes, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”.
Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbor.
There is a wealth of wisdom written in the Proverbs. This one in particular relates a mode of friendship that is fleeting, conditionary. Wealth attracts people, and people are by nature selfish. In many ways, money makes better friends than most people do; and really, if people are friends with you for your money, are they truly friends of yours?
An example of true friendship can be found later on in the Scriptures, though much more hard-hitting than the previous one.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
This one really hits home the longer you think about it. We, as Christians, should be willing to die for the ones we care about. It is the love that is within us that motivates us to put our carnal desires behind us and think of others before we consider even our own lives. This willingness to die for someone is ultimately what separates the wheat from the chaff, the goats from the sheep, the non-believers from those who have love coursing through their spiritual veins.
I have met a few people who believe differently. Our current generation leans more toward the “what can you do for me” kind of friendship. In fact, the Disney Channel is full of good examples of this next kind of conditionary friendship. It is popularly exploited because it is a surprisingly common mindset of young people.
Ye are my friend, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
We might laugh at that, it is a sad truth that people actually live their lives in that way; dying from the inside and seriously injuring the lives of others. Though, if you read the context of this verse, it is Jesus himself who is speaking these words. He says through the person of David that he who hath friends must show himself friendly, then moves on to say that if you love God and obey him, you can be called a friend of the Creator of the universe.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I have commanded you.
To be a friend of God…
Notice the two action words in this verse: do and command. God commands, (voluntary action on His part), we do, (voluntary action on our part), and we will be called friends of the Most High God.
I recently spent what seemed like a very short amount of time with some very dear friends of mine. It caused me to realize that time is fleeting and life is but a vapor. We should not only cherish the times we are given, but use those times to bring glory to the Father. Friendship was created for the sole purpose of glorifying God. If it edifies a brother or sister along the way, so much more the praise.
This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you.
I love you guys… And gals. And, just so I’m not discriminating, if there happen to be any pig ducklings reading along, I love you too. As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist