Friends are so important but godly friends are even more precious to the believer. What does the Bible say about friendship?
David and Jonathan’s Friendship
David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son, were about as good and close of a friend to one another that is humanly possible. First Samuel 18:1-3 put it like this,
“the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul [and] Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.” What a great description of friendship and you cannot find a better one than that in the Bible. The “soul off Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” means that, in the Hebrew language, that they were woven or knitted together like a garment that could not be separated. In fact, Jonathan loved David “as his own soul.”
To Find a Friend, Be a Friend
One thing that separates friends is gossip because he or she “who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Prov 17:9b) but “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). Clearly friends love us “at all times” which means through the good times and the bad, through success and defeat and brother or sisters (friends) are born for our times of adversity. They celebrate with us in our successes but they also mourn with us during our losses. It has been said that a sorrow that is shared is halved, but a joy that is shared is doubled. We find it true that a “man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24). In other words, you cannot have a close relationship with a lot of friends but you can have a great friendship with one friend who stands out above and beyond all others and like Jonathan and David, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” or sister. Do you have a friend that is that close to you? To find a friend you must be friend and show yourself friendly. Close friends do not gossip to others. You know that you can share something in private with a close friend you can trust and not have to worry about it being spread around; you can trust them with those things that you cannot tell anyone else.
Not Friends with the World
James asks us, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4)? The Apostle John tells us “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). How can we love the world and claim to love God? If you have close friends who are not saved then there is the risk that you will be dragged into sin by running with those who are quick to run to evil. It is absolutely true that “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33). I am not saying that you cannot have friends that are not saved. What I am saying is that your best friends should be those who are believers in Christ. My best friend is my wife and I would hope that my wife would consider me her best friend. In fact, a man and a woman should always become best friends before they ever consider marriage. It turned out that I married the best friend that I have…my beloved wife.
Jesus calls you friend but only if you have repented and trusted in Christ. If you love your friend, you will try to please them and Jesus said that if you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). The Lord said “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:12-15). Jesus is a friend of sinners but only of those sinners that trust in Him and obey His commands. He is willing to be your friend and if you call Him friend, that means you obey what He tells you to do. If you are one of His, then He has already laid down His life for you. What closer friend is there than one that is willing to die for them? I would willingly die for my wife and children. That is what Christ was not only willing to do but something that He actually did? Will you consider calling on Him for He is the best of friends, not only for sinners, but for the saints who will inherit eternal life someday.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon