Most of us know people that we consider friends but how many of them are true friends? Do you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother (see Proverbs 18:24b)? Are you that kind of friend to others?
Friendship is a gift and a responsibility. It is something we have to work on, and something we are able to reap from. Oswald Chambers wrote, Friendship… means identity in thought and heart and spirit.
True friendship is not an emotion, preference, or feeling. It is giving of oneself to another person. Friendship, in essence, is love.
God, as the Creator and Giver of friendship, set the perfect example of true friendship. In the Old Testament, it is said that God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. Moses is called the friend of God. (See Exodus 33:11.) God was like a Counselor or Confidante for Moses. He supported Moses and stood beside him. At times the children of Israel were angry with Moses, and several times they wanted to kill him. Even Moses own brother Aaron didnt always support him. But God was always there for him, always standing by him, always encouraging him.
Through His relationship with Moses, God gave us an example of true friendship. And more importantly, He illustrated the personal relationship that He desires to have with us.
Usually when we think of friendship, we think of love. This makes perfect sense because true friendship cannot exist apart from love. But what exactly is love?
In his best-selling book My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers wrote, Love is the outpouring of one personality in fellowship with another personality. This means spending time with those you love, but especially getting to know them and letting yourself be known to them. Nearly everyone has different sides or aspects to their personality. Your true friends will know your other side, and you will know theirs.
Fellowship is important, but true love and friendship go deeper. Jesus said in John 15:13, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jesus demonstrated this love by giving His life on the cross. Now thats true friendship! Just as Jesus selflessly laid down his life for His friends, a true friend will be willing to give her time, talents, abilities, possessions, dreams, and even her life for her friend. As Christians, we have that kind of Friend in Jesus. Are we willing to be that kind of friend to others?
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul defines and describes true love. This passage also seems to describe a true friend.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails…. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13.
Yes, this is true love and true friendship! What more could you ask for in a friend? What more could you be?)
By Havila Worden, the King’s Daughter Magazine