Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break.”
What does true friendship look like? As Christians we are very familiar with scripture as a source of friendship and how they shape every aspect of our lives. God did not make us to be alone, He designed relationships. Not only the material kind, but true friendships as well. Friendships fill the gaps in our lives, providing support, love, and entertainment. God has provided us, through stories in the Bible, the power of friendship, and what it looks like. Today, we are going to look at some of them and increase our knowledge as how to go about being a true friend.
Perhaps one of the most well-known stories of friendship can be found in 1 Samuel, David and Jonathan. Their friendship is described in 1 Samuel 18:1, “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” We also know how Jonathan protected David from Saul’s wrath. He made sure to always have David's back, including giving up his right as the son of a king.
This is important in friendship: to love another as you love yourself. Three elements of friendship can clearly be seen in all the stories of Jonathan and David. Love, loyalty, and an openness that helps a friendship thrive. David was stronger because of his friendship with Jonathan and Jonathan was a good person because of David, despite who his father was. Both could easily say, “I like me best, when I'm with you.”
Friendship works best when you can work together to do something great. Although separated when they were young, Moses found his way back to his family and he and Aaron became great friends. Sometimes God blesses us with friends who compliment us perfectly, who help us achieve more than we ever could. Sometimes we are given that friend and sometimes we need to be that friend.
Although a great leader, Moses feared public speaking. So, God brought in Aaron to speak and be the support Moses needed. Aaron helped fill the gaps Moses needed help with, making for a good partnership that ultimately led to one of the most glorious rescues in history. Friendship includes being there for each other so our weaknesses may be less and together they can accomplish God's will. “I like me best, when I'm with you.”
Did you ever think about Elijah and Elisha? Elijah was a great and wise prophet but when it was time to pass the torch God brought him and Elisha together. This friendship shows us the importance of choosing the right friends. Elisha could have dismissed Elijah as an old man he didn't want to be seen with, but he recognized how much he could learn from Elijah, and he would be a great mentor.
It would be wise for us all to remember that it's important to choose friends who are wise and holy and passionate about what they do. We all tend to become like our peers the more we're around them and by becoming friends with Elijah, Elisha became a worthy prophet and servant of God. For Elijah he probably said, “I like me best, when I'm with you.”
We don't read about many women in the Bible and their friendships but one we do know well is Ruth and Naomi. This is a friendship that was found in an unlikely way, especially when you think about all the “mother-in-law” remarks made today. Even if we like our mother-in-law how many can say that she is your best friend?
We know the story. Ruth's husband died along with Naomi’s husband and other son. Choosing to go back to her childhood home Naomi leaves, telling her daughters-in-law to go back to their families. Ruth refuses to leave Naomi alone to fend for herself. Once back in Naomi’s homeland, Ruth gathers the food, cares for Naomi, putting herself aside even if it meant staying alone and single. We know the story ends happily with a marriage and son leading into the line of Jesus.
This friendship shows the value of loyalty, unconditional love, and self-sacrifice. Ruth put herself aside to help Naomi in her time of need. This act of friendship is one of the strongest, it gives us a sense of security, and we know when we're in trouble someone will be there for us. Ruth knew she liked herself best when she was with Naomi.
There's one friendship greater than all of these kinds though. The friendship between you and Jesus. Even before you took your first breath Jesus knew how you looked, how unique you would be and what great things you would accomplish. Jesus knew every sin you would lay at the foot of the cross and still chose to bear the burden and pain for you- John 15:13. Jesus knew the struggles you'd face, the pain you'd have to bear, the times you face temptation and fail yet He chose to save you because you are His friend- John 15:14.
Jesus loves you enough to come to this earth and die a horrific death because He chose you, not because you chose Him- John 15:16. Jesus is the purest example of friendship, and He lived that friendship through His actions. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and when we have Jesus in our lives we truly can say, “I like me best, when I'm with you.”
True friendship is one of the sweetest gifts we can have in life. Friendships can be found in a marriage and between platonic people because that is how God created us, to have someone to celebrate life with or hold our hand in the dark times. Good friends are the ones who we like ourselves best with because they have a way of bringing out the best in us. And Jesus is the truest best friend we can have.
We have come to our last study through Galatians. Hopefully you have been able to find some extra time in your days to read along with me and maybe do some of the study guides I provided. What are some new things you have learned or what have you been refreshed on as you have read along. It's amazing what new insights we gain as we get older even if we have read the Bible several times. Today we will finish off with Galatians 6:1-10
Galatians 6:1-10- https://www.docdroid.net/szDGjlc/galatians-study-8-docx
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