Today I heard an amazing sermon at my church. My close friend is the Pastor’s son, and he preaches on occasion. I look forward to each time he is preaching and this time it was a part 1 of a 3 part series called “Friending”.
Most of this content is from my notes during the service, not all my own words.
Friends are and important part of life, and currently we as people are failing in this department. You would think with all the technology and all the social media, that we would all have more close friends than ever. It is actually quite the opposite, people have 2/3 less close friends today as they did 25 years ago. Why is that? How many close friends do you have? 1, 3, 5, you can’t count family though. A close friend is a friend that knows everything about you, and doesn’t just say what you want to hear. With social media you have “friends”, but all you look for from them is some comments that make you feel better about some post you had. Then you look at their profile to judge them, or judge yourself in the scale of “life”.
Show me your Friends, and I’ll show you your Future.
Walk with the wise and become wise, associate with fools and get in trouble. (Proverbs 13:20)
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in a time of need. (Proverbs 17:17)
Why are friendships declining?
Increasing work hours – In the current culture, we can’t be good enough. You always need the best, and newest car. You need to have the fancy new expensive clothes. You need to live in a big new house. We always have to be better and have more, and that means more working. When someone asks you what you’ve been up to lately, we always have to feel like we need to say, “been just so busy lately, been working really hard”. Also with the added technology, work is always with you. Your phone beeps in all hours of the day with emails and reminders from work, work completely surrounds us these days. We must make time for friends
Rising divorce rates – How does divorce rates contribute to less close friends? Married couples have married couple friends, in a divorce the couple separates, and so do the friends. A marriage is a commitment, and people don’t take this big commitment serious these days. Friendship is a commitment too, not always smooth and with controversy. If people will give up so easily on marriage, how easily will people give up on being a good, genuine friend?
Explosion of social media – Social media is a great thing for the world, the business opportunities are huge and sharing good information worldwide is quicker than ever, but it has its negative influence as well. Go to a restaurant, just take a look around. There will be multiple people at almost every table with their eyes glued to their cell phones. They are there physically with people that they could be engaging with, but instead they are reading about, or talking to “friends” on social media that they barely know and just want to impress through a screen. Check your Facebook account, how many “friends” do you have. Now search that list and write down all the names of those “friends” that know what you really do in your life. Do any of those “friends” know your secrets, your struggles, your addictions? It is sad to say that many of us are very lonely inside, and we are too scared or too proud to admit that.
Rediscovering the lost art of friendship
Be Present – listen to people talk, engage in their life and their interests. If when someone is talking to you and all you are thinking is what you want to say when their lips stop moving, you are not being present in the conversation.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Get Open – Confess your life to people. You can’t live in a protected safe box and expect to go places in life. You may have to open up for people to open up to you. You might impress people with your strengths, but you will connect with people through your weaknesses. Whats your aim, impressing, or connecting?
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
You might just be one friend away from changing the course of your destiny!
They say that you are the average of your closest 5 friends. You won’t be the richest, or the poorest, you won’t be the prettiest, or the ugliest, you won’t be the oldest or the youngest. If you are a drunk, you probably have friends that get more drunk than you, and friends that get less drunk than you. If you commit adultery, you probably have a friend that commits adultery more than you and one that has only done it once. If you were stoned last night, or even right now, I would bet you had a friend that was more and another that was less stoned.
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul helped had preached boldly in the name of jesus in Damascus. So Saul stayed with the apostles and went around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. (Acts 9:26-28)
Saul was the name of the later known apostle Paul. As Saul he killed Christians, but then the Lord spoke to him, and he got one friend, Barnabas, that changed his destiny. What is Barnabas wasn’t there? What if the apostles didn’t let Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul, go around Jerusalem preaching with them? You might just need that friend that can set you straight.
Three types of friends that every person needs
A friend who makes you better
As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
You need a friend that wants better for you. This doesn’t mean that a friend can make you a better basketball player, poker player, or even RC car racer. I’m talking a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better christian. Iron sharpening iron is not a quick and easy process, and friend that makes you better isn’t going to be quick and easy either. It might be a process, you might not enjoy all of it, it might hurt, but the question is, do you want to be better?
A friend who helps you find spiritual strength.
One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul (not apostle Paul, and different Saul) was on his way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. (1 Samuel 23:15-16)
This friend has multiple roles. Helping you find strength in your faith, what does that really mean? It could be showing up to your house after you and your wife or girlfriend had a fight. It could be going to you kids basketball game. It could be giving you a hug when a family member is sick. God loves you, how do you show a person that, you love that person.
A friend that tells you the truth
Then Nathan said to David, “you are that man”. (2 Samuel 12:7)
That verse has more to it. Nathan was sent to King David to tell him a certain story. Nathan told him about two men in a town, one was rich with many sheep, and one was poor with one sheep, a guest showed up to the rich mans house, and he killed the poor mans one sheep instead of taking one from all his sheep that he had. David got very mad and said that man should be killed. Then that’s when Nathan says “you are that man”. Do you have any friends that will risk the friendship to be honest with you. Are you even capable of listening to truth from a friend? Are you a good enough friend to be honest with someone and confront them about something.
An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6)
This really hit me hard today. I am very blessed to have some great close friends in my life. I have not always had these and it is easy take them for granted. To have great friends, you must be a great friend. We all make mistakes, there are tons of people I am thinking of right now that I should be a better friend to. A friend that I need to be more present with. A friend that I need to open up to. A friend that I can make better. A friend that I can help get stronger in their faith. A friend that I can tell the truth to. Who’s your friend? You could be that one friend that changed their destiny, don’t miss that chance.
We are all concerned about trending, but are we serious about FRIENDING?