S171P1 – The proverbial good friend: a friend in common

Pro. 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

It has not escaped me that my perspective on friendship for the Christian is controversial, but I believe that the scriptures support the position.  It is founded on the biblical command that we not be friends with the world. [Jam. 4:4]  In this context, whether we view the world as the ungodly system in which we live or the people who subscribe to it, neither will lead us closer to the Lord.  For me, it is as simple as understanding that I once was God’s enemy and now am his friend, and my friends should be his friends.  My friends should not be God’s enemies.  Despite this, we are called to reach the lost with the Gospel message, so this means we must be acquainted with them, which is the point.

This Proverb speaks of friends and brothers together. The requirement for a friend is that he or she love at all times, and we know that the world is not capable of this. To have friends who meet the standard requires that they have the Lord. Our brothers and sisters in Christ who can meet this standard also were born for adversity, which includes adversity within the friendship relationship. This all assumes that those we hold this close to us are capable of forgiving and supporting as only the Lord can teach. These are not the ways of the world but the ways of God. When I say that we are meant to be acquainted with the world, I also mean that they can be only our acquaintances but not our friends.

My friends are the ones who encourage me in the Spirit and move me toward the Lord. My friends are the ones from whom I can seek wisdom and discernment in my walk. My friends are the ones who can disciple me and whom I can disciple. Sensibility tells me that I would be foolish to hold as friends those who are the enemies of my best friend, who deny him and live according to their own sinful ways. When God calls me his friend, it lets me know that friendship is not to be taken lightly. It is a consequential relationship reserved for God’s friends. Father, give us wisdom in knowing to whom we should draw close, and bring us godly friends who will help us be more like You.