Life Enrichment through the BIBLE … Session 3: Making Friends
What is a friend? What do you think?
- Someone you feel SO comfortable with, you can open up and SHARE things with
- Someone you enjoy SPENDING TIME with
- Someone who makes you FEEL BIGGER and STRONGER
- Someone who helps you BECOME what you CAN be, whilst ACCEPTING you as you ARE
And BEING a friend TO a friend – that’s a FRIENDSHIP.
We make friends by finding people who think the same way as us. But, here’s a thought:
Actually, what friends we make depends on which ROADS we take in life. We can head for places where friends might encourage us to be POSITIVE, or we can head for places where friends might encourage us to be NEGATIVE or DESTRUCTIVE.
There will be friends to make in EVERY place.
Two different roads are described in
Proverbs 7 v 7—9 and Proverbs 8 v 1—3.
Proverbs 13 v 20 says: ‘He who walks with wise people will become a wise person’.
If we choose GOOD ROADS and GOOD FRIENDS, THEY can help US, and WE can help THEM.
How about THIS person? Would they be a GOOD choice for a friend do you think?
“They are GENEROUS and PATIENT, COMPASSIONATE and FORGIVING, immensely LOYAL, but at the same time, FAIR. —they don’t let people off the hook if they need a telling off”.
You may be surprised to know that this is the description of a real person. (Exodus 34 v6-7)
Someone who invites us to be his friend!
The Bible describes how GOD reaches out to his creation and calls people to listen to him and become HIS FRIENDS:
- Exodus 33 v 11—Moses became his friend
- Isaiah 41 v 8—Abraham became his friend
- Jesus looked for FRIENDS too. Like his father, he was compassionate, patient, generous, loyal and fair.
“you are my friends” he told the people who travelled with him, “because I have shared with you everything my father has told me, and you can show me that I am your friend by treasuring what I have shared with you, and responding to it”. (John 15 v 14-15)
So, FRIENDS SHARE, LISTEN and RESPOND to each other.
Here are some of the stories of FRIENDSHIP which would have INSPIRED Jesus as he read his father’s WORDS in the SCRIPTURES he had:
DAVID and JONATHAN (1 Samuel 18—2 Samuel 1)
Jonathan was inspired by David’s strong faith in God (1 Samuel 18 v 1).
The two become firm friends. Then, when David was losing faith, Jonathan came to him and ‘strengthened HIS faith in God’ (1 Samuel 23). This is TRUE FRIENDSHIP at work.
DANIEL and his 3 FRIENDS, SHADRACH, MESHACH and ABEDNEGO
Daniel and his friends recognised that all the WISDOM and APTITUDE they had, was given by GOD. They stood TOGETHER in this belief in the INVISIBLE GOD, against various physically powerful kings, and were victorious, although their journey was a tough one. They passed through the FIRE and the LIONS’ DEN – TOGETHER. Being together must have made them feel STRONGER.
Jesus would have been inspired by reading about them, and now, JESUS can inspire US!
JESUS needed to be STRONG to do what he had to do. He needed the BEST FRIENDS to help him. So what did he do? He PRAYED to GOD all night, before CHOOSING his 12 special friends. (Luke 6 v 12-13)
It might be a good thing to let Jesus and God in on our ‘mind-discussions’ when we are deciding who to spend our time with!
But sometimes FRIENDS can disappoint us.
JOB and his 3 friends
Job’s 3 friends came to comfort him when he was in a bad way, but ended up CRITICISING him and telling him he’d brought it all on himself, which wasn’t very constructive. “You are miserable comforters!” he complained, “making long-winded speeches against me”. (Job 16)
They annoyed him so much, he started CRITICISING GOD, HIMSELF! This was not the JOB who had started off by ACCEPTING all the bad things that were coming his way.
‘Do not be misled! Bad company corrupts good character’ (1 Corinthians 15 v 33)
In the same way that having a group of GOOD friends can help you feel STRONG, a group of BAD friends together can cause all kinds of TROUBLE, because TOGETHER, THEY feel STRONG.
An evil plan can be swept along much faster by a CROWD than a SINGLE person.
DANIEL and the Babylonian governors (Daniel 6)
Daniel was a victim of his own good character when the King wanted to put him in charge of 120 governors. They devised a plan and put it into action AS A GROUP (v7,11, and 15). As a result of their action, DANIEL ended up in the Lions’ den. But GOD is STRONGER than MEN. (And lions!)
HAMAN (Esther 3 and 5)
Haman’s FRIENDS were of the same mind as Haman, who was JEALOUS and ANGRY. They encouraged him to MURDER!
But Proverbs 22 v 24 says: ‘Don’t MAKE FRIENDS with an ANGRY man’. Good advice!
If only Haman had made GOOD friends, he might have been steered into the RIGHT path.
So here’s another aspect of FRIENDSHIP: BE-FRIENDING people.
Jesus purposefully went to places where there were people who felt they were ‘failures’ and ‘misfits’. He wanted to help people see their own worth and to be successful and STRONG. This worked because he had STRENGTH in himself. He had spent 30 years becoming strong enough to strengthen others. Some of these people became his VERY BEST FRIENDS!
Mary Magdalene—Mark 16 v 9, Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ sister—John 11 v 5, Zacchaeus—Luke 19
Jesus was called ‘the FRIEND’ of Tax Collectors and ‘sinners’. He never gave up on anyone who he felt had taken a wrong road and made the wrong friends.
JAMES the brother of Jesus
James knew first-hand what it was like to be rescued from the ‘dark side’. He started out deriding his brother, with the others, but he changed, and became a staunch follower of Jesus. In James’ letter in the BIBLE, he says: ‘You can be a FRIEND of GOD, or you can be a FRIEND of the GODLESS WORLD. Not both … Come near to God, and he will come near to you.’
Jesus said: “If someone DIES for their FRIENDS, it shows they REALLY, REALLY LOVE them … and YOU are MY FRIENDS … “
And he DID.