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Monday, March 3, 2014

Friendship Is Important!

By R.W. McAlister

     There has been a lot said about love throughout history and in popular media. Yet, on examination, most of the love that is talked about would be better described as, “physical attraction.”
     The basis of any good relationship is true biblical love, which is much more of an action than an emotion. We see that in John 3:16: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” He demonstrated His love for mankind – with action – in giving Jesus to die. God wanted the very best for us, as Rom. 5:8, says “while we were yet sinners.” God choose to love us because He cared for our well being and future.
     God designed us to need companionship. He said in Gen. 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  Each of us needs others. It’s important in our families and in the church. When we fail in our relationships and fail to exercise biblical love one to another, we become lonely, and loneliness is a terrible condition. There are two types of loneliness.
     First, there’s a loneliness that occurs when we’re isolated from our husband/wife, families and friends. Some of us experience this through our jobs. Sometimes they take us away from loved ones.
     Second, and worse, there is emotional loneliness. This type of loneliness can occur in the midst of a crowd and believe it or not, it’s the most common type of loneliness. It occurs when we feel we have no one with whom to share our deepest concerns, no one who truly understands our struggles or our joys.
     The solution to the problem of loneliness is friendship. All human beings both need and want friendship. We need someone who will rejoice with us or cry with us (Rom. 12:15), someone who’ll comfort us when we crawl through valley of despair, or laugh with us on the mountaintops of happiness. In fact, friendships can be our most valuable possessions. Emily Dickinson, wrote “My friends are my estate.” Every human being needs friendships on two different levels.
     One level is that of horizontal friendship. We need deep, meaningful friendships with other people. Solomon wrote in Prov. 18:24: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” In other words, we have to work on building friendships and that begins with us – the key is to first be friendly yourself. Do you work on building friendships with others, or do you just sit around and wait for them to develop on their own?
     True friendship is not one sided, but there are those who are looking for friends who will help them, meet their needs, listen to their problems, be sympathetic and love them and nothing more. They’re seeking a selfish friendship in which they receive friendship in a one-sided arrangement.
     Let me emphasize that true friendship is not based on getting, but on giving. Many people have a hard time finding true friendship because they’re looking for what someone else can do for them. They want people to love and care for them – hold their hand all the time – and they fail because that is not the basis of true friendship. True friendship begins when we give of ourselves and show ourselves friendly. When you give friendship, it always comes back.
     We also need VERTICAL friendship. The basis of any sound lasting relationship begins by having a Biblical relationship with God. The second part of Prov. 18:24 says, “…and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
     Dear Reader, I hope that each of you has at least one earthly friend in this world that you can think of when you read this verse, but even if not, everyone who has been baptized into Christ has such a friend in Jesus Christ. Unless you have a personal, Biblical relationship with Jesus, you'll never truly escape loneliness.
     James 2:23 says, “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
     Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:14-15, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Abraham was a friend of God. Christ could now call His disciples friends because of their obedience. Love – friendship, you see, is giving sacrificially for others. Love is not so much an emotional feeling, but it’s the act of giving (Jn. 3:16). To be a friend of Christ means to obey Him. There’s nothing greater in this life than to be a friend to Jesus, and to claim Him as your own. Have you done so? - R.W.

 - R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website:
http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/

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