“I have called you friends.” John 15:15 NKJV
“You are continually changed for better or worse by the power of friendship.”
My thoughts today are about “the power of friendship.”
Real friends are invaluable! There is a needless poverty in the life of any individual who does not experience the strength that comes from the close fellowship and friendship of others. The people you include in your life have a significant and lasting impact on who you become – some for your good, and some not. You should know the difference. Choose friends wisely, treat them kindly.
Strangers might become acquaintances; acquaintances may become friends. There are many people who touch your life as acquaintances, some briefly, a few longer. Not all will become friends that continue and contribute to your life, but cherish those who do. There are those who will become life-long friends, having shared unrepeatable and unforgettable memories together.
I have been wonderfully blessed with a number and quality of friends well “beyond my pay grade.” I could not begin to calculate the measure of their positive and lasting influence on the better part of whatever I have become. So much of who I am is the product of God’s grace and generous friends. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 NLT. The continuing give and take of real friendships shapes your life, often without your recognizing until much later. Their influence might be gradual or immediate; it might seem casual or purposeful. You are continually changed for better or worse by the power of friendship. See 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV. Who are the friends who make you better than you would be without them? Who is better because of you in their life?
Friends share life together. The power of friendship is in the times and ways in which you share one another’s lives. Friends are the people with whom you want to share the occasions and celebrations of your life. I find it interesting that in Jesus’ classic story of joyous celebration – the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son – the conclusion of each of the three stories of a common theme is this: “he calls his friends together and says, ‘I am so happy . . let us celebrate!’” Read Luke 15:1-24 Today’s English Version. With whom do you first want to share your successes, or trust with your worries and weaknesses? Your answer reveals the persons who count you as friend. “Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share trouble?” Proverbs 17:17 TEV.
Friends are loyal to one another. A friendship can weather many storms and endure many challenges, but infidelity to that relationship breaks a bond upon which friendship rests. “Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers.” Proverbs 18:24 TEV. The power of a friendship is built on appreciation, tolerance, understanding, communication, and generous forgiveness on occasion. I never had a brother (other than friends who have become like brothers and sisters to me), and my much younger sister died in an auto accident when just ten years old, but my family valued loyalty and acceptance of one another as essential virtues. Family and friends came first.
I think the highest honor I am ever paid is when another is glad to say, “Allen is my friend!” Imagine the joy to hear Jesus say, “I have called you friends!” John 15:15 NKJV. Now there is incredible privilege and power in that friendship!
My prayer for you today is that you are secure in God’s love and friendship.