The Closest Friend
Solomon was granted an understanding heart, that he should judge between good and evil regarding the welfare of God’s people (2 Kings 3). It is not surprising then, that Solomon’s writings in the book of Proverbs contain wise sayings that would permit the righteous heart to lean not to one’s own understanding, but upon God’s truth. (Proverbs 3:5). Among these truisms is Solomon’s statement regarding friendship: “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
My life contains a multitude of true friends! Indeed, I’ve been blessed immeasurably with friends who have remained friends from our first acquaintance. But as with all of us, life has a way of changing the intensity of this list of “friends.” Even our vernacular describes our relationships in a somewhat declining list from “best” friends to “close” friends, to “just acquaintances.” Only a few, and a very few at that, remain so near and dear as to declare of them, “They are closer than a brother.”
Honestly, in the flesh, I have a few who fit that criterion. Neither time nor distance changes our bond of friendship. With these few, a phone call or a surprise face-to-face visit begins where our last conversation ended as if neither time nor distance was separating our unity. Equally unique is the reality of our “sensing” the needs of the other. It is nearly impossible to explain, but our friendship is so precious that an extraordinary sense of need overwhelms us, and that need prompts the phone call or personal visit. Because these friends are constantly a part of our lives as we pray, study, work, play, or just relax, they are on our minds and we somehow recognize the need to reach out and just ask, “What’s going on?” and hear them respond, “I was thinking of you!” It’s called love: a love that is unified in more than a casual way!
While most of us can identify with the above regarding friends, let me ask if Christ Jesus is that closest of all friends! If not, why not? Is He not closer than a brother to you? Does He not know when you need what only He can supply, and does He not fill that need with immeasurable compassion and understanding?
Some might reject the idea that Jesus’ friendship is physical as well as spiritual. If so, then are you seriously thinking man’s friendship is of greater value than that of our Lord? Which of our earthly friends ever died to rid us of our sins? Sure, we’ve had friends who died to protect and defend our liberties here in the United States. Many of these friends fought on foreign soil to protect the freedoms we have here in the States. And yes, many of those friends died in defense of these liberties and our freedom. But not even one died to rid us of our sins! That’s what Jesus did – and even for His enemies! (John 15:13)
Again, some may reject the idea of Jesus’ friendship being physical as well as spiritual. If so, think of what man’s friendship does for leading you in the path of righteousness. Which one of our earthly friends have been without fault in their decisions in life? Not one! (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1: 5 – 10) Regardless of their intentions, regardless of their “tried and true” ideals, no man is without fault! Regrettably, many well-intended friends have led their friends into danger and ultimate destruction of body, mind, and sadly, soul! But never did Jesus lead in such an erroneous fashion. His words and deeds were precisely as God the Father directed (John 12:44 – 50; Hebrews 1:1-2) and therefore, Jesus rightly states, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14) Further, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Having Jesus as that one friend who sticketh closer than a brother is not just “wise advice;” it is the promise of the best friend anyone will ever have!
Last, He is not one of those “fair-weather” friends some have. Those are the ones that are your “BFF” until you can’t or won’t do what they want you to do as “proof” of your friendship. Those are the type that are manipulative regarding what you should think, say, or do. They don’t truly have your best interest in mind, but only their own. Jesus is not at all like that! He is constantly giving us an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21). He is the way, the truth, the life, and no man can go to God the Father, except they go via Jesus (John 14:6). There simply is no greater friend!
But the question is, dear reader, is He your friend? If not, why not? Name one of your earthly friends that can and will do for you what Jesus has done and would continue to do for you!