Gift of Friendship

A survey was once taken with different people of various ages. Each person in the survey was asked to write a brief definition of a friend.

Here are some definitions that they gave in the survey:

“Someone you can bare your soul to and not be afraid it will get around.”

“Someone who has tactful truth and is not afraid to tell you.”

One who knows you well, but still loves you.

A person, who understands you, appreciates your view and is loyal to you.

“Someone who enjoys being around you, accepts you for who you are, and is faithful to you when the chips are down.”

Definition of true friend: “A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God.”

There are several types of friendships:

Acquaintances and casual friends-We can make many acquaintances during a year, but have fewer than seven intimate friends in a lifetime.

Close friends-We often make close friends with people at work, at church, and neighbors in our neighborhood,

Personal friends-We have made friends with these people through the years, and we choose to remain close because we love them.

Mentors-Those are the people who have contributed to our lives in a teaching or guiding way. These people are usually counselors or those  who counseled us during difficult times in our lives.

Intimate friends-These are the friends to whom we can pour out our hearts.  We share our deepest feelings and hopes. They are the friends who were there for us during our deepest trials. Although we do not get to see them very often, we look forward to seeing them any time we can. These are friendships that have a quality that will last months and years.

It is interesting to note that even our Lord seemed to have some intimate friends.

Mark 5:37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

Mark 13:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,

Mark 14:33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;

Luke 8:51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.

What does it take to develop lasting friendships?

First, to develop good friendships, we must know Jesus Christ as our Savior. Christians have a different basis for building friendships than non-Christians. Because we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, we can mutually draw upon His resources.

Second, to develop good friendships, it takes time and effort. It takes months and sometimes years to develop good friendships.

Third, to develop good friendships, it takes love. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times. In Proverbs 19:4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbor. These verses speak of temporary friendships that are not built on real love. People  want to be friends with people when they have wealth, position, or power, but they will desert friends if they are poor. We must always ask ourselves this question, “Am I pursuing this friendship with a pure motive and  love for this person?”

Fourth, it takes deep-sharing to develop good friendships. Deep-sharing involves acceptance and understanding. We must try to be understanding and be a good listener with our friends. Accepting our friends does not always mean that we approve or agree with them. But… Praise the Lord, Jesus totally accepts us, even when we hurt Him or disappoint Him. When we get judgmental and not accepting with our friends, it  slams the door on their deep-sharing with us.  We must be careful not to use false foundations for accepting our friends.

Satan’s False Foundations for Accepting Friends

Possessions-What do my friends have?

Performance-How well do my friends perform? (By our standards)

Position-How important are my friends?

Appearance-How do my friends look? We live in a world that worships beauty and youth. Are we choosing our friends by their outward looks?

When we build friendships on these false foundations, they will be superficial friendships, and they will not last, because we are building friendships on our human love limitations.

When we build friendships on these false foundations, we are forced to compete. When we compete, we will begin to feel alienated because of our comparisons with them. When we begin to compare, we will feel either inferior or superior. When we feel inferior, we become jealous, threatened, and insecure. When we feel superior, we become proud, conceited, and obnoxious.

II Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

An important part of deep-sharing means that we will give our advice sparingly. Proverbs 18:13…we must not answer a matter before we truly listen to what our friends have to say.

Fifth, it takes self-sacrifice to develop lasting friendships. We must be willing to give up things of more value or importance for something else considered to be of less value or importance.  Do we give money to our friend even though we haven’t got much ourself? How much time have I spent praying for my friend when she is going through a very difficult time? Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Think of the men who were David’s good friends. David wanted a drink from well of Bethlehem.  II Samuel 23:15-16 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!  And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

David’s friends were willing to sacrifice their lives for David to have his request.

Pouring out water before the Lord which David had so longed for a drink showed David’s honourable disposition:

1. Repentance for his own weakness. He let his men know that he had said something unadvisedly.

2. Denial of his own appetite. He longed for the water of the well of Bethlehem; but, when he had it, he would not drink it, because he would not gratify his own foolish desire. It showed that he had rule over his own spirit.

3. Devotion towards God. That water which he thought too good, too precious, for his own drinking, he poured out to the Lord for a drink offering.

4. Tenderness of his servants. David could not imagine that these three brave friends would hazard their lives to get him a drink of water.

Sixth, it takes encouragement to develop good friendships. Some friends drag you down. We must be friends who lift our friends up. Encouragement provides friends with self-esteem, positive thinking, and a spiritual uplift. Our words of encouragement could keep our friends from sinning.  Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Seventh, it takes stimulation to build friendships. Words synonymous for stimulate are excite, inspire, and motivate. Am I the type of person who stimulates or inspires my friends? Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Can I share my ideas with others and not make them angry?

Men with high intelligence talk about ideas
Men with average intelligence talk about things
Men with no intelligence talk about people

Eighth, it takes spiritual influence to develop friendships. Do I challenge my friends to be all they can be for the Lord? Friendships either drive us to or away the Lord.  Friendships deeply influence our spiritual life. Proverbs  13:20…He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.

Ninth, it takes loyalty to build good friendships. We want friends who will be dependable and trustworthy. Friends we can trust and rely on.

Tenth, it takes fun to build good friendships. We want friends that will  laugh with us and have fun,  but still be serious when it is time to be serious?

A friend accepts us as we are yet helps us to be what we should.  ~Author Unknown

A good friend is cheaper than therapy.  ~Author Unknown

A true friend knows all about you and keeps his mouth shut.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

The Secret of  Friendship
Some people always seem to know,
How to make each day worthwhile;
They know how to catch the sunshine,
And how to wear it in their smile.
And they always seem to have,
A little time that they can spare;
Especially, when you need to know,
There’s someone who really cares.
They always take a sincere interest,
In all the things you say and do;
And when others turn and walk away,
They stay, and help you see it through.
They are willing to give of themselves,
In ways that never seem to end;
In our heart they have a special place,
That’s why we call them our friend.