Proverbs 27:17 (NLT), says “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Having a friend that you can count on is a very wonderful gift. This verse in Proverbs paints a portrait of a true friend. There’s a shared sense of caring and concern for one another that grows and develops in a meaningful and supportive friendship. You want each other to succeed in life, and you pour into each other’s lives because you want to see the friendship flourish. In short, a true friend is someone that is on point, and helps us to be on point as well.
How to recognize a potential friend?
My grandmother doled out many pieces of phenomenal wisdom to her grandchildren. One of them was, “Everyone that says they’re your friend, isn’t your friend.” In her own way, she was letting us know that talk is cheap. You really have to look at a person’s actions to know what they are about. A person that has made Jesus Christ the head of their lives and has made a commitment to live for him has the potential to become a good friend. By choosing Christ they have chosen love as the foundation of their lives. Not only is this wise, but it demonstrates a person’s willingness to make things like compassion, gentleness, patience, and generosity a staple in their character.
Look in God’s Word for Examples of Real Friendship
In Genesis 18, God shared His intentions with Abraham. We see a dialogue between them that shows us their friendship. Verses 17-19 tells us, “17 “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. 18 “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” Abraham is the Father of our believing because he was fully persuaded in God. He knew that if God said it, then it must be true. Heavenly Father also trusted in Abraham. He declared that the descendants of Abraham would become a great nation, and they would be blessed as a result of Abraham’s commitment to honor and trust God.
This is one of the greatest examples in God’s Word of a true friendship. Abraham did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit that you and I have, but still he believed God, and God stamped him “righteous!” because of his faith. There was mutual respect and trust between them, and this was the foundation on which many future blessings rested.
Respect and trust are built as we do things like honor our commitments, speak the truth when we know it will not be easy to hear, and love unconditionally with the heart of Christ. In His Word, God reveals over and over how a commitment to these kinds of qualities are the benchmark of a mutually fulfilling and long-lasting relationship.
Be the Friend You Want
It is important for us to make a decision to start behaving like the friends we hope to have in our lives. Loyalty, honesty, companionship, commonality of interests, and good communication are qualities that we need from others so that we will feel appreciated and valued. We also need to make sure that we are cultivating these characteristics within our own personhood. It is not fair to expect something from a person when we are not holding up the standard ourselves. So as we think about what we desire in our friendships, we need to make sure that we are willing to equal or exceed the benchmarks we set.
Most of us have been taught that we should look at what a person does and not so much what they say. 1John 3:18 (NIV) says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” Jesus Christ also told us in Matthew 7:20 (NLT), “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” A real and true friendship is one where we can see the love of Christ in the person’s actions, because they are always looking out for us in ways that add and not subtract from our lives. We don’t see this kind of commitment in friendships often; good friends are not the easiest to find, but if we trust Heavenly Father, and commit ourselves to be faithful, He will help us to meet friends that will be a true blessing to our lives.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“A True Friend Indeed”, written by FACM ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!