We are talking bout the power of a strong friendships and why you need them in your life. If you haven' read Part 1 and 2 you can read them here...
God has called you to community. From the beginning God said in Genesis 1:28, "Let US make them in OUR image." God is concerned about you but is also committed to US. God is a God of connection and relationship and so we should be also. Friendship was God's design. God said that He sees us as friends of His (John 15:15). So finding a secure, vulnerable, honest, trustworthy, life-giving, sincere, forgiving and faithful friend is who God is to us and who God has in mind for you and your relationships. This is why a culture of friendship is not just a good idea but necessary. It's who God is and it's who we should be too.
Here is what God says about friendship below:
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Colossians 3:13-14 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted...
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
John 15:2-13 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
One thing is for sure: belonging is necessary. We belong with each other and we need each other. We need each other for wisdom, counsel, encouragement, perspective, support, inspiration, loyalty, faithfulness and to push us.
Hebrews 10:24 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
We all know the uncomfortable feeling of experiencing the jab of a friend. The times when we feel the prick of their words and actions and it doesn't feel good. That sharp prick can be one of two things: a spur or a dagger. Because their is a big difference between a "spur in our side" and a "stab in our back." Many of us know the pain of a dagger in the back when we lose the trust of a friend through betrayal, dishonesty and disloyalty. We trusted them and they chose to stab us in the back. But the purpose of spurs is different than the purpose of daggers when it comes to friendships. A swords purpose is stop forward motion by "killing" the opposition but a "spurs" purpose is to unleash potential. A spur's purpose is to unleash the capacity in the animal to go farther and faster. Both are sharp and inflict pain but one is concerned about moving friendship forward and the other is concerned about stopping friendship all together. That's why God is clear that we must "consider" or "to think carefully before making a decision" when you feel the prick and the pain in a relationship. I think too many relationships ended prematurely because the pain of a spur was mistaken for dagger in the back. A friends purpose is to push you past your hurt, past your pain and past your "past" so that you can run in such a way to not just gain ground but to win.
We need friends to challenge us.
We need friends who we can be transparent with.
We need friends who we have been given permission to call it like they see it.
We need "Nathan's."
David needed a Nathan who challenged him and was given permission to access his life in a way that no one else could to speak to him in a way that no one else could (Samuel 12). Nathan showed David the error of his ways. This friendship was not only reliable and trustworthy but centered in God. Making Nathan's wisdom and counsel not just emotional and to the point but saturated with God's wisdom and authority. Because that's when David's perspective shifted back to God's perspective. Sometimes friends tell us what we don't want to hear and the question is are you listening?
That's why we should fight for friendship. Don't give up so easily. Stand by someone...even when it's difficult. Because you make them a better person.
God says it this way in Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
Your rub on me is what I need to keep me from become useless. There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. Likewise, it is with this that we are to sharpen one another—in times of vulnerable relationship. Not only do we become sharp but we gain our purpose again. A dull knife sits in the drawer but sharp knife will find itself in the hands of the user farm more than any of the others.
Who in your life is challenging you?