Biblical Wisdom Wednesday for Common Questions of Life
Is God My Friend? Am I Friendly to Others?
Proverbs 18:24 (KJB) A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
What is a friend? We are going to look at the word “friend” as God divinely recorded its meaning in the Bible. As you can read in the above verse, there is more than one definition given for the word “friend” found right here in this verse. On one hand the word it is defined as an action in being naturally outgoing and friendly to others. Secondly, friends who stick close are often closer than mere acquaintances. Friends who stand by another through thick and thin and are often allied closer than some relatives. This second characterization associates the word “friend” in an ongoing personal relationship which goes beyond a level of friendly chatter and good manners.
If a friendship is first and foremost based on a foundation of God, then an alliance between such friends is more like having a close relationship with a brother or sister or other family-like rapport. I say like here because often natural family associations can often be more likely to be antagonistic and unfriendly. When God is in the middle of a friendship it has naturally been affixed with a supernatural eternal bond to protect and preserve and shelter against the forming of foolish fissures and fractures commonly found among blood relatives.
Now, being friendly to any and every person, such as Jesus modeled choosing to dine with sinners as was recorded in the Bible. This approach can be a little harder to understand and implement in our own life because a man tends to categorize sin by degrees rather than coming to an understanding that all sin is an offense to the nature of God. No person deserves to dine with God. However, He is a God of love and in thinking of this supernatural essence of His character, we can understand His choosing to dine with any person, including both close friends and acquaintances of ill repute are possible, simply because of His unconditional love.
However, it is hard to wrap one’s head around God’s ability to dine with such company and to keep a divine separation from the presence of prevailing or besetting sin. Sin always has a way of winding its crooked ways unsuspectingly into one’s character. It is possible to remain in conversation without adding baggage because God has already gained eternal victory over the power of sin. Being friendly in this dark and wicked world and keeping from unintentionally adopting a sinful behavior or thought of another takes the presence of the supernatural nature and power of God at work in a saved individual’s heart.
Finally, an association between Jesus and sinners is a friendliness which displays itself as an approachable dialog including light banter Jesus commonly employed in both sowing seeds and in disciplining and teaching the growing holiness and character of immature Christians spoon fed by the milk of His Word. Both kinds of situations require a cheerful and personable disposition made possible by the working of the power and presence of God. Nobody desires to associate with anyone who cannot hold a conversation without presenting as gruff and grumpy because this would create a spiritual roadblock rather than building bridges.
A friend is a person you want to spend time with. It is an association or a bond with a person or a group of people you sincerely desire to talk to, teach, and relate personally. What a person does in times of friendship and banter can matter in changing hearts concerning eternity.
John 15:13 (KJB) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Jesus Christ remains the best billboard in learning how to be a friend to others in this world. Being a true friend requires putting on the nature of Christ and a willingness to serve God, sow seeds, and help in meeting the needs of others as we sojourn in this world. However, God will not ever be friendly or amicable, nor should we, towards the presence of persistent sin.