Evidently, God likes friends!
In the very beginning, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and he wasn’t just talking about marriage. Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one. If one falls down, a friend can help him up, but pity the person who has no one to help them up” (Eccl. 4:9–10). Jesus had a friend named Lazarus, and when Lazarus died Jesus wept. Paul wrote to his friends in Thessalonica, “You are my glory and my joy.”
Do you have a friend who can help you up if you fall down? A friend who you could call if you needed to at 2 am? Someone who can find you where you are and gently lead you to a better place? Could you be that person in someone else’s life?
Although God’s Word speaks often about good and close friendships, apparently many of us don’t have friends like that. Seventy percent of Americans say they have few close friends. Forty-three percent say they have only one person or no person they can confide in.
Now, there are all kinds of reasons for this decline of friendship in our society: longer working days, constant job relocation, technologies that isolate us, woundedness from childhood that cripples our relational abilities. But knowing the reasons doesn’t change the reality.
Most of us don’t have enough friends or any friends. And that’s not good, because when we go through life without friends, it’s not just the experience of life that’s diminished; we are diminished. We’re less than we could be. We’re less than we were meant to be, and that’s especially true for Christ followers, because God uses friends and friendships to shape us into the people he created us to be.
One of our values here at First Free is “authentic community”. Romans 12:9 says, “Love must be sincere.” In other words, love doesn’t fake it. When we are together, we don’t wear a mask. Our relationships are filled with love and grace.
So for the next 5 weeks, we decided to focus on friendships. We will be looking at some famous friends in the Bible. What is it that made their friendships so alive? And if we sit in the shadows and watch and listen, maybe we can learn how God uses friendship in our lives.