The Value of Real Friends
By Pastor Donald Parker
All of us want to have friends. All of us desire to be a friend. God actually created us for relationships. He wants us to have a relationship with Him, and have relationships with others, like friends. Real friends help one another get through the struggles and challenges that we face every day.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) helps us see an example of this; it says; “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; (10) If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (11) Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (12) Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
I want to point out a couple of characteristics of a real friend found in this passage of Scripture. First, real friends help you when you’re down. With regards to this passage, the road and pathways during those days weren’t paved and they weren’t level. The travelers had to also deal with loose rocks and holes along the road. So it wasn’t uncommon for someone to stumble and fall, and in some cases breaking a leg or ankle.
Now, just like having a friend who helps you up when you stumble physically, think of the advantage of having a real friend to help you up when you stumble spiritually. Galatians 6:1 (NLT) says; “If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” We should be grateful for our Christian friends that help us back up when we stumble spiritually.
Now in reality, you may have a lot of people in your life that you consider friends, but mostly likely you only have a hand-full of what you can call “real friends” – friends that are actually there to help lift you up when you’re down.
So, how can you tell the difference between your real friends and those who are just acquaintances? You know who your real friends are when you find yourself in trouble. Trouble with your health; trouble in your marriage; trouble with your kids; trouble with an addiction; trouble with your finances, are any other trouble. When trouble comes your way in life, look around and see who’s there standing beside you; those are your “real friends!”
Something else we can see about real friends is that they provide the emotional warmth that we sometimes need in this cruel cold world. In the context of verse 11, this is not a sexual reference; instead it speaks of huddling together in the cold. It’s a image of travelers sleeping outdoors in the cold who had to huddle together to keep warm.
We need real friends who offer us the emotional strength; the emotional warmth we need when we just don’t have enough ourselves to get through the difficult circumstances in our life we face from time to time.
There’s another place in the Bible where we can see the value of real friends; it’s found in Proverbs 27:17 (NLT). “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” You see, Christian friends, sharpen Christian friends. They do this by helping one another better understand God’s Word, and how to live a life according to God’s Word.
You might be reading this article asking yourself, “I wish I had a real friend. I wish I had someone who was there to help me up from the mess I’ve made of my life. I wish I had a real friend that would help me through this cold cruel world.”
If that’s you, I’ve got some really good news; there is! His name is Jesus and He wants to be your friend; a real friend. Not only does Jesus want to be your friend, He actually deserves to be your best friend; because He’s already done more for you than any other friend will ever do. He went to the cross and paid for every sin you ever committed. He did that because He loves you and wants to call you friend.
God said himself in Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Maybe you’ve had a friend that failed you; that abandon you when you needed them the most. God says He will never fail you; He’ll never abandon you and that’s a promise. He’s always going to be there for you no matter what. Jesus wants to be the greatest friend you will ever have.
To know more about how much Jesus Christ loves you and wants to be your friend, join us Sunday mornings at 11 am at First Baptist Church Van Horn; “A Place to Belong.”