Monday, June 26, 2023

A Friend that Sticks Closer than a Brother

A Friend that Sticks Closer than a Brother 
by David Brenneman 

"A person of too many friends comes to ruin.  But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 NASB. 

What the Bible says about: "The Need for Christian Friendship"
 1 Samuel 20

Adversity often brings us face-to-face with our need to associate with a different group of people. Perhaps we need to sever ties with others. Perhaps we need new friends. Perhaps we need to align ourselves more closely with Christian believers.

God made us for fellowship, communication with other human beings, and communication with Himself. None of us were designed to go it alone. We need other people and they need us.

At times, however, we make unwise associations. We choose the wrong friend, employer, partner, or employee. And inevitably, our bad choices bring us adversity.

David and Jonathan provide us with a good model for true friendship. Jonathan's love for his friend caused him to act in several specific ways:
    He warned David of possible danger. (1 Samuel 19:1-3)
    He spoke well of David, even to a person who considered David an enemy and who was angry with Jonathan for having David as a friend (1 Samuel 19:4,5)
    He sought to do what David needed him to do (1 Samuel 20:4)
    He risked his life in defending David (1 Samuel 20:30-33)
    He helped David escape death (1 Samuel 20:35-42)

Jonathan voiced one of the greatest statements of friendship in the Bible when He said to David, "Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying 'The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever'" (1 Samuel 20:42) Now that's friendship!

Paul describes Christian friendship in what we have come to call the love chapter of the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13. He describes Christian friendship as: patient, kind, and humble (v.4); polite, selfless, unruffled, and positive (v.5);magnanimous and rooted in truth (v.6); and supportive, hopeful and enduring (v.7).

Such love, Paul said, "never fails" (v.8) And such friendships are divine blessings in our lives, God's rich rewards to us on this earth.

From the Life Principles Daily Bible by Dr. Charles Stanley

I have this particular portion of reading bookmarked in my Life Principles Daily Bible.  

Both making friends and sustaining them after moving has been incredibly difficult for me.   Friendships that I thought would endure have not.  Starting new ones has always been incredibly difficult for me. 

Yet in all the years only One has truly been there regardless of circumstances of life. 

Only One has proven this passage true because He is Truth.  People whom seem sincere at the time often move on because of various reasons. Out of sight out of mind in most cases.  I really don't want to consider other reasons to be honest. 

When you come to Christ for salvation you begin a relationship, a friendship, that is indeed with the One who sticks closer than a brother.  As Peter had been for you? You follow Me!  

It's always been incredibly difficult to let go of the good ones in life.  Either by death they have left my life or by the choices we made or they made.  

I had thought moving nearer to some that maybe some would rekindle but evidently that's not to be the case.  

So in the mean time my focus stays on my walk with Jesus.  His promises of never leaving me alone have proven true time and time again.  

My hope is built upon what He's done in my life to save me and draw me to Himself.  To have the lumber of my life be built into something worthy of His being in it. 

Come what may, hardships or prosperity, my Friend has been right there with me. 

As odd as it may sound, I don't want to be excessively prosperous.  I have read what it does to people in the Bible.  They tend to lean on their own understanding of how to live life.  It's also, oddly enough, a turn off to some people. They don't see prosperity so they don't want to invest in a relationship.  I once knew a man calling himself a Pastor who actually put prosperity and other status symbols high on his priority list of qualifications to being in his "inner circle" of supposed "friends".  In the end he used and abused a congregation.  But that's between him and God.  

I have also known the unlikeliest of people who became my closest of friends.  He looked past what others would not take the time to see who I really was about. 

This to say friendship is a very special thing in the eyes of God that is different in every way that counts.  Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit created us for a lasting, vibrant, real relationship with them.  

The Bible says that King David was a man after God's own heart.  David often sought direct conversation with Jesus.  David spoke at length in the book of Psalms of his recounting the things in life that the Lord Jesus showed him of their relationship. 

I am still in a rebuilding phase of friendships in this new hometown.  As I said it's difficult.  I am an introvert and am not taken, in most cases, to starting a conversation with people I don't know.  In some odd circumstances I have, those I know were God moments.  

If you're finding yourself alone...go to God in prayer.  Have that conversation that He longs to have with you.  

Before that though, be sure of your salvation in Christ Jesus.  It has to start with you coming to Christ to be saved.  

I really long for the day that I get to run to Jesus to embrace my friend who is my Lord.  My friend who has always stuck closer than a brother to me.

We talk every morning on my way to work as if He's sitting in the truck with me.  I share my thoughts, my ideas.  I have been struggling with the idea of having dreams to pursue.  I have none at this time.  I have achieved what I have wanted to do growing up that was financially feasible.  What's left, He's shown me, isn't meant to be.  It's not in His plans for mankind.  Yeah they are that big. 

I am often mistaken for being mad or upset.  No, I am a heavy thinker.  Where most people have one train of thought, I have many at one time.  Emotions often get in the way of figuring out things.  

If indeed deep friendships are to be in my future again, it will be the Spirit who brings it about.  I have been misunderstood most of my life so what's a few more years of it continuing.  My Jesus knows me.  

If you find yourself in something similar stick to growing in Christ. Stick to cultivating your friendship with your Savior.  Realize that you aren't "damaged goods".  You are special, created by God, for a right and true relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.  You won't ever be left behind or forgotten by Him.  You will always have His undivided attention.  His love is unconditional.  His friendship endures forever.

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