1st of July
I might have written something about this before, but I am urged to write a theme about this now.
We have a variety of friendships and many different friends.
The Bible encourages us not to be friends with the world. We can read in James 4:4: ” Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. ” We can other places read that those of us who are born again, are in the world, but not of this world. We belong to another kingdom. We do live here on earth and Jesus says in John 17:15: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You Should keep them from the evil one.” When we talk about friendship, we usually think about human beings, but there are a lot of things that could become our friends, and we should not have friends with those things that belong to a secular world or an evil world. Some people look upon alcohol as a friend and the look at the bottle and say: “This is my friend.” I am thankful that some others have come to their senses and call it an enemy. This is especially true for those who are dependant on it and are on their way to be ruined. We could mention a lot of other addictions, but this is not the theme.
What kind of relationship do you have to money? We read in Matt.6:24 that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve God and mammon. It is nothing wrong with money, but the question is whether we love money more than God. I have seen pictures of people holding money in their hands saying: “These are my friends.” God is our Provider and He is our source. Money is a tool to be blessed and to be a blessing.
We can move to a family with children and we can look into the children’s room. We might see animals of wood and other materials, teddy-bears and dolls. These things might be the friends of the small children before they get real friends of flesh and blood. They get a relationship to them and the world goes apart if they are destroyed. They might have a strong emotional bondage to these things. Children will hopefully soon get real friends. What brings children together? They do something together. They might have some of the same interests. They like each other. A child might say that his or her friend is cute or kind. Funny children might get friends easier than others. A real friend gives me a sense of self-importance. A child wouldn’t say quite that way, but the fact is that a friend confirms me in a positive way. Neither children nor adults like to have a friend who criticizes us all the time. As the children grow older, they look for more qualities in the others before they call them friends. “Can I trust you?” If a eight or nine years old child, constantly is telling lies, she or he can loose friends. Honesty plays a very important role in a friendship.
I know that they talk about certain children as leaders already in pre-school. A leader can get both friends and enemies depending on the qualities of the leader. If the leader is very domineering and wants attention all the time, he or she might not be so popular. A good leader brings forth the best in others. Many want to be friends with such a leader, both children as well as adults.
A child cannot always give a clear explanation why he chooses so and so as a friends. Adults might not give a very clear explanation either. We often talk about chemistry in lack of a better word. Others say: “We feel good in each others company.” I said something funny yesterday. I am part of a group with people from different congregations. We watch the teaching of a known preacher on television. I said that I did not only come for the teaching, but to meet people who think like me. There is a spiritual unity among us. You do not choose friends who go in the opposite direction.
I do not have a lot of friends, but some good friends in the different places where I have been for some time. I also have friends on different levels. I have some friends from my childhood. We are Christians, but have gone in a little different direction. We live far apart, but when we get together, we do not need any time to start a conversation. We have a lot of past experiences to share and we love to encourage each other in our walk with Christ. Common experiences can be important in a friendship. I feel very secure with these friends even if we think a little different. A sense of security is a good ingredient in a friendship.
I have other friends from my many mission trips. It might be pastors I have worked with or families I have stayed with. I thank God for to-day’s technology and I keep contact with these people through mail, sms and skype. We can share each others joy and sorrow and we can contact each other for prayers. When I come close to where they live, I make a point to meet them again. It is not necessary with very frequent visits in order to keep a friendship.
The Bible says that we cannot always trust our friends. It says that friends can fail and that they can be faithless. That can unfortunately be true and friends are not our source. Jesus is our source of life. We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us to choose the right friends, friends that we can trust. Their advice must never come before the advice of God or the Word of God.
What do you expect of a friend? Many friendships would not be ruined if we dared to talk about this. I once had a friend who expected things of me that I could not do and our friendship was unfortunately ruined. It was not nice. I forgave, but it hurt for some time. This friend wanted to talk for hours over the phone and it hindered me in taking care of my own family. She didn’t accept a limitation. We cannot always expect a friend to say yes to our suggestions. I recently asked a friend of mine in Norway for a favor. She said that this time it was difficult for her to say yes. I accepted that and she was so glad that our friendship was strong enough for“no’s”. If she never would be there for me, I would not think that this was a good friendship. In this case, she is. Friendship for me means to give and to take, in other words “mutuality”. We can all have times when we can not give so much of our time and ourselves, and that has to be accepted.
Some friends I can travel with. Some I can’t. I have experienced this. One doesn’t always know that before one has tried it out. That doesn’t mean that one can’t do other things together. I do different things with different people.
A friend should not own us, nor control us. That would lead to an unhealthy relationship. I have friends that I share a strong spiritual relationship with. Others I can share more of my soul with. Some I can share everything with. I can have unsaved friends, but our relationship is limited since Jesus is so much part of my life.
Jesus called His disciples for friends. We can read about that in John 15. He says that He has shared everything that He has heard from His Father. I have also shared some of my experiences with God, but that has unfortunately led to jealousy some times. I always become glad to hear about healthy spiritual experiences. Jealousy should not be part of a friendship. We are there to help and encourage each other.
REMEMBER THAT JESUS IS YOUR CLOSEST FRIEND, CLOSER THAN A BROTHER!