How Many Friends Do You Have?

What Does Being a Good Friend Even Mean?

This past Sunday some of the young adults in our church took care of the service at Pastor Lee’s request. (He was out of town at his daughter’s wedding. Congratulations Pastor Lee and Kay)

They did a great job! It was a great message and great music.

Since the first Sunday in August is Friendship Day their message centered around friendship and what it means to be a friend. When looked up, most definitions of friend are pretty vague.

A friend is – A person whom one knows, likes and trusts.  An acquaintance.  A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause.  A comrade.

Like I said…pretty vague.

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people.  It is stronger than an impersonal bond of an association.  It is different for different people. It changes with age and personal preference.

I think a good place to find a definition of friendship is the Bible.

Here are 10 things the Bible says about friendship

1.     The First Problem in the World Was Not Sin but Solitude

            At each step of the way when God created the world, he pronounced that everything was “good.” But then once he created Adam, something was not good. “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18).

2.     Friendship Is a Whole-Bible Theme

            The Bible tells the story of the creation, fracturing, and ultimate restoration of true friendship—friendship with God, and also with each other.

3.     Proverbs Is a Practical Guide to Forging True Friendship

            Proverbs gives us wisdom for navigating the complexities of our relationships.  And it doesn’t just address relationships in general, but also, friendship in particular. 

4.     True Friendship Is More Like a Covenant Than a Contract

The Bible shows us that real friendship is more covenantal than contractual. Proverbs teaches us about “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). 

5.     Friendship Thickens Church Community

            Studies show our culture’s increasing social isolation.  We are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. The book of Acts portrays the church as fulfilling ideals of friendship (Acts 2:42-47Acts 4:32­- 35). 

6.     Friendship Is the Goal of the Gospel

            Christians rightly think about salvation as forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  But it is more than this. Jesus gives all who trust him the privilege of being his friends (John 15:14–15). 

7.     The Cross Is History’s Most Heroic Act of Friendship

            Jesus wants us to view the cross in terms of friendship.  Jesus said, “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

8.     Jesus Is Our Truest Friend

            Many Christians hesitate to call Jesus a friend.  But Jesus doesn’t share our hesitations. He invites us to understand our relationship on terms of friendship (John 15:12-17). 

9.     Friendship Shows the World That We Belong to Jesus

            Jesus said in John 13:35: “by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

10. Friendship––with God and One Another––Is Our Greatest Joy

            The apostle John wrote to believers for a purpose: “so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and   with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:3-4). 

True friendship is something that is hard to find and when you do, you need to honor it by “being” a good friend.

Like I said earlier the young adults did a great job of choosing the music.  One of the songs that we sang was Alan Jackson’s version of What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Having Jesus as a friend is life changing!

In today’s social media world, we can have a lot of friends, but are they true friends?  Having a lot of friends is way less important than having a few good ones.

Jesus is our example is what it means to be a good friend.

Suffering Has Always Been a Part of Life

What Are You Going to Do About It?

Suffering and perspective have been a common theme over the past several weeks. It started with the importance of making every day a day of thanksgiving. There’s no question that there’s suffering in the world. It’s been this way since Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden.

Looking back through history at things people have had to endure is easy to read or talk about, but we can’t really compare our current situations to those. We haven’t had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years with no place to call home. Or be imprisoned in a concentration camp because of our religion. Or lived in a sod house without any electricity, water, central HVAC, and not being able to go to the store to get food.

Sure, there are things every day that are difficult, but we’ve become spoiled!

Doug Miller presented the message Sunday in Pastor Lee’s absence. The point of his message was one of hope, support, and perspective. If anyone can speak to suffering, it’s the Miller family. They dealt with the death of both a mother and a daughter within a week in December. You can see the heart felt message here.

Of course, we want a world without suffering but that’s not going to happen. Doug pointed out that they’re doing okay because of being supported by family, friends, and prayer.

Support of family and friends is critical to well-being.

They found blessings in part because they were looking for them. Looking for this support started long ago being raised in the family and church that they were. All along the way decisions were being made that lead to this place. The decisions we make today will have consequences in the future.

Choose your friends well. Life is hard, but it’s harder if you try to go it alone.

This also means that we need to be willing to be good friends, because there’s always a need for good friends. You can choose your friends. You can choose to be a friend. You can choose how you will deal with life’s difficulties.

You can choose!