What is a friend? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a friend as: One who you share esteem or affection with. I agree that you share affection with friends, but there is much more to it!
I'm not talking about someone who you sit next to in math class and talk to once in a while, I'm talking about a friend, as Proverbs 18:24 says, "...sticks closer than a brother." In the Bible, David was close friends with King Saul's son, Jonathan. The relationship between David and Jonathan is a perfect example of what a good friendship has and what it should be like. I consider a friend someone who would give their life for me. Who loves me as much as they love themselves. In 1 Samuel 18:1 it says, "After David finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." Do you love your friends as much as you love yourself? Real friends are people who love you. Love is the biggest thing in a friendship.
What is love? What does it look like and feel like? Love, to most, consists of warm fuzzy feelings and writing on each others Facebook walls myspace hearts<3 and a million smiley faces:) That's just babyish love! The strongest form of love is sacrificial love. Jesus showed us how much He loved us when He died on the cross for us. Self sacrifice is the strongest form of love.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
We need to set a Christ-like example and be willing to lay down our lives for others. So when I say, "real friends are people who love you", I mean that they are willing to die for you. We offer our friendship out to many people, but how many of them can really say that they are your friends? Do they bear with you in your burdens? Are they there when you need someone to talk to?
Over the years of my life, people have come and gone. For a long time, I defined a friend as someone who I just messed around with, but the time we shared together was pointless! It wasn't until these past 6 years of my life that I actually benefited from a friendship. I was finally able to grow in character and grow spiritually from the people around me. That's what friends are! They aren't just the people you enjoy spending free time with, they are the people who care enough for you, that they would invest in your growth!
That's where the second part of the love comes in. A friend cares about who you are more than how you feel. If your friend approaches you telling you that you have sin in your life that needs to be corrected...they love you! A friend who loves you will show it by rebuking you when you are doing wrong. So many people have the definition of friendship backwards.
I was talking to a guy a while back, and this is what he described a "good friend" to be like, "I know my friend cares for me because I got drunk one time at a party, and he didn't let me drive home. He called a cab for me." ...............So that's what a good friend is like? NO! A good friend would of made sure that you didn't get drunk in the first place. Better yet, a good friend wouldn't of let you go to a party where the temptation of drinking would of come up!
See how the world totally has it all wrong?!
"Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses."
I hope the definition of a "friend" is clear to you now. It's important that we guard who we surround ourselves with. I have only a select few of good friends. With these people, I am able to have mature spiritual conversations, I can count on them for helping me with my burdens, I can help them with their burdens, and we spur each other on. God has blessed me with them, and I thank Him for them! I hope you have good friends too!
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If you have any other spiritual topics in Christianity that you would be interesting in hearing about, please email me! firstname.lastname@example.org