Summary: True friendship is based on love, because only love will endure the tests that friends experience as they go through life together. As we become friends with others, we recognize our need to develop our friendship with Christ because He’s the only one we
Becoming a True Friend
As his UCLA football team suffered through a dismal season in the early 70s, head coach Pepper Rodgers came under intense criticism and pressure. Things got to be so bad that his friends even bailed on him. As he reflected on that tough year, Pepper said this, “My dog was my only true friend. I told my wife one day that every man needs at least two good friends…and she went out and bought me another dog!”
Sometimes a dog is a man’s best, and only friend. Actually, there are many things we can learn about friendship from a dog’s perspective. Let me share some canine coachings:
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Dr. Wilfred Funk, the dictionary publisher, was asked to list the 10 most expressive words in the English language. Here are four that jumped out at me:
The most revered word -- mother
The most beautiful word -- love
The most bitter word -- alone
The warmest word -- FRIENDSHIP
I think he’s exactly right -- especially with the last two: “alone” and “friendship.” Each of us has been created for companionship with God and with others. We were never designed to function in complete isolation.
Sometimes we think that God is only concerned with spiritual matters. The truth of the matter is this: Jesus Christ died in our place, not only to restore our relationship with God, but also to firm up our friendships with other people. In fact, the Bible has just as much to say about interpersonal relationships as it does about theology and doctrine. During our series from Proverbs the past three weeks, we’ve been reminded to seek after wisdom with everything we’ve got, to watch our words, and to implement God’s wisdom in our families. This morning we’re going to focus on how to become a true friend.
A young man sat down to write a letter to his dad, hoping to shake some shekels out of him: “Dear Dad, I’m 100 miles from home, I’m flat broke and I have no friends, what should I do?” The dad wrote back: “Dear son, make some new friends.”
That’s not easy to do, is it? How do you make new friends? I’m convinced that worthwhile friendships are not simply found, they’re made. While we can’t pick our families, we can select our friends.
Proverbs 12:26 tells us to be careful and deliberate about the kinds of friends we choose: “A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” The reason we need to be careful is because we often become just like the people we hang around with according to Proverbs 13:20: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” This last phrase literally means, “Those who hang out with fools will be broken.” The apostle Paul picked up on this when he wrote: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Casual friends are the result of circumstances. Close friends are the result of choice. Proverbs 27:19 in the Living Bible states what you and I have learned from experience: “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” The closer I am to a person, the greater the impact her or she will have on my life. I must therefore choose my friends carefully. Recognizing the power of a friendship to either build us up, or break us down, Proverbs describes at least three types of friends.
A Forever Friend
1. Some people are selfish. While we all struggle with self-centeredness, it’s really tough to build a relationship with people who incessantly think only of themselves. Proverbs 18:1: “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.”
2. Some will use you. Proverbs 19:4: “Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him.” The word “deserts” refers to being “out of joint” with someone. Those who use you will eventually break things off when they’ve taken what they’ve wanted. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who was only interested in what he or she could get from you? It doesn’t feel very good, does it? If you’re in a relationship like this, put your foot down and refuse to be taken advantage of any longer.