Good Monday Friends,
As the revolution marches on in our war against loneliness the next layer of “friendship” I want us to look at are the characteristics of real friendship, how would you differentiate between friends and merely companions? Remember the words of the wisdom writer… A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18v24
If all my relationships are only companion level deep then in my time of deepest need I won’t have someone sticking closely by to ensure that I don’t come to ruin.
Once again credit to Timothy Keller he identifies the 4 marks of friendship from the book of Proverbs as constancy, carefulness, candor and counsel. We’ll unpack these over the next several days.
Lets begin with the quality of constancy that is found in friendship; Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Friends love at all times, what does this mean? Does this mean if you’re friends you spend all of your time together? Friendship may include spending all your time together but it does not require that, the idea here of loving at all times means in all kinds of times. Good times, bad times, ordinary and routine times… its the often used phrase of this generation doing life together.
You can’t really be a friend without availability, that’s part of constancy. It means being there when the chips are down, a man of many companions may come to ruin but there’s a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
“Your friends won’t let you go to ruin. Most of the people you will know over a lifetime want to know you because you are useful to them. Before you get bent out of shape about that I want you to realize that most of the people you know and want to know are people that are useful to you. Most of your companions, your associates, most of the people you know, why do you know them? Why do you want to know them? Because they are useful to you! Some of them are useful for having a good time! Some of them are useful for meeting other people! Some of them are useful for getting things done!
But the people who only know you because you are useful to them when the chips are down and you’re starting to collapse, when it’s going to take a lot of involvement and expenditure, to stay in a close relationship to you as your life collapses, that’s when your companions say “call me if you need anything.” But a friend is there, because a true friend has made you more than a means to an end but an end in yourself. A friend goes to the mat, a friend say I will do whatever it takes from keep you from falling into ruin. I won’t let you get to the bottom, I won’t! I’ll be there even when it cost me something. Constancy. That’s a friend. A fair weather friend of course isn’t a friend.”
My prayer for each us is that we’d have 2 or 3 people in our lives that are real friends and that we’d learn to be a friend to others in this way. Lets win this war and eradicate loneliness by prayer and pursuit of friendship!