As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
From the very beginning of time God said that it was not good for people to be alone. (Gen 2:18). This refers to all people. It is not good to be alone. We were created for companionship, for friendship. We exist to have fellowship with God and others. And now that this world is a dark place filled with hardship, disappointment, and sin those who have friends to walk with them have something that is more valuable than money.
But here is the trick. Not all friendships are beneficial. There are some people who will drag us down, bring out the worst in us, and tempt us to sin. (1 Cor. 15:33)
We need to surround ourselves with people who will make us better Christians, encourage us in our marriages, cheer us on in our parenting, and will speak the truth when we are wrong. Who will love us through it all.
“He who walks with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Pro 13:20).
We will not only be influenced by the company we keep, we will be known by it. This makes it important to seek out friendships with people who will lead us to walk with and become more like Jesus. And let me give you some good news. It is not common interests that solidifies a friendship, but a common Savior. The bond we have with Christ trumps, differing personalities, styles, passions, and hobbies so that we are able to have strong, deep friendships with other sisters in Christ.
Not only do we need to seek out godly friends, we need to learn how to become this kind of friend ourselves. This is something many of us neglect. We want good friends, but do we want to be a good friend? Jesus calls us to this. Of course a good friend will point other to Jesus, but here are a few things necessary to being a good friend that leads others back to the gospel.
Being a good friend will mean:
1. Giving up our own preferences
There is no room for selfishness in friendships. We need to be willing to give up our own preferences for the good of another person. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3, ESV) A good friend will seek to honor and bless those around them.
2. Speak truth kindly
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Pro 27:6)
One of the responsibilities of a friend is to reprove when it is needed. But doing this well requires grace and wisdom. It is not our job to become busybodies, but it is our job to gently and kindly correct if we see our friend walk in a way that is dangerous or in conflict with God’s word.
This means we must also be friends who are willing to hear and accept the reproof of a friend. This shows great spiritual maturity. While it may hurt our feelings we need to remember that truth spoken in love will be used by God to bear fruit in our lives.
“Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it!” (Psalm 141:5)
“Yes, rebuke a wise man, and he will love you” (Pro 9:8)
3. Be Wise
Bring a good friend demands wisdom. Without it it is easy to overlook sin and danger, or become overly critical. It’s not just reproving that we must care about, but how we reprove. Can we discerning the needs of our friends? What will effectively encourage them in their Christian walk? All of this, and much more, requires wisdom.
It costs to be a good and godly friend. We see the ultimate friendship in Christ. He is wisdom personified. He spoke the truth, and is the truth. And his friendship toward us took him all the way to the grave, for our good. He did more than lay aside preferences, he laid down his life. “Greater love has no man than this: that a man lays down his life for his friend” (John 15:13). Are we willing to lay down our lives for the good of another?
But this cost is the very gold of life!
It is the only antidote for selfishness!
It is the way of Christlikeness!
Looking to Jesus,