A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24
“I don’t have any friends.” I remember saying to my mother, usually in a whiny voice.
“Have you tried to BE a friend?” she would ask, and then she would quote today’s verse.
Too often my answer to that question was “no”. I hadn’t really been thinking about others and investing myself in their lives. Therefore, I did not feel that I had many friends. And the few times I had tried to reach out to someone, I often had ulterior motives. I would befriend the kid who had a pool or owned a movie that I wanted to see. I wasn’t genuinely interested in them. My neighbor was an annoying little girl who was two years younger than I. But she brought Pudding Pops, so I played with her. See what I mean?
As time passed, I did better at being a friend, so I gained a few friends. But I found out that many people who claimed to be my friends, weren’t genuine. Adversity unveils the truth about ourselves and about others.
We cannot overlook a big truth in this little verse. “A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly. . .” Notice the word “must”. It is a little verb with a large meaning. That word means “to be obliged to; should”. If you want a friend, then you are obliged to be a friend. You will not have friends for long if they see that their concern for you is not reciprocated. That doesn’t mean that we should begin keeping tally marks each time we do something for someone and they do something in return. It just means that in general, friends care for each other. It’s a mutual understanding.
The last part of this verse is the most beautiful part, in my eyes anyway. “…there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Who else could that be besides the Lord Jesus Christ? I promise that I will certainly let you down. I will disappoint you. Ask my husband and children! I fail all the time. But Christ never fails them, or me. He is with us in our darkest moments after all the world has walked out. He knows how it is to be alone in the world. Mark 14:15 says “And they all forsook him [Jesus], and fled.”
I want to invest in the friends God has given me. God has used people who live hundreds of miles away to uplift me in my darkest valleys, and I want to show my gratitude to them. But my relationship with the Lord Jesus should take first priority in my life, above all human friends. I want to make Christ the subject of conversations and blog posts. I want to be closer to Him. I want to avoid that which displeases Him. I want to show Him – as much as my sinful flesh can – that I am His friend, too.