Christ-Like Friends

How does the Word of God describe a true Christ-like friend? First, a Christ-like friend will above all else be a friend of Christ. Jesus was the ultimate example of friendship when He laid down His life for us in order to bring us back to right standing with God. Jesus taught in John 15:12-15, 
 
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
 
We recognize from this that the first way to discern if someone is a Christ-like friend is to observe the person’s love walk. If someone has a close relationship with the Lord, they will be growing more and more in His commandment to love. There will be fruit that demonstrates the love of God in their life. Even when someone makes a mistake, it is apparent how mature their love walk is by how quickly they repent and apologize for a wrong done to another and move forward in the Word to ensure they do the right thing next time. 
 
We once heard a speaker say that years ago she decided to take a very close look at herself. She was moving up in her profession and observing those she wanted to emulate in the company, as well as those she would like to develop friendships with one day. She asked herself, “What kind of person am I? What kind of friend am I?”
 
When she thought about the answer to these questions, she remembered having once heard that you can know what is in your heart by what spills out when you get bumped. In other words, when we are put under pressure or someone does not treat us right, how do we react? If we are at a restaurant and the waiter messes up our order, do we get irritated or do we respond with patience and kindness, using it as an opportunity to show mercy and grace?
 
As she reflected, she realized that often times what was spilling out of her wasn’t very nice. She chose to change herself with diligent study in the Word and prayer. Today she is a wonderful example of a Christian, at the top in her profession, a spiritual and professional mentor to many, and she has the kind of friends she once longed for. She realized that to be a great leader, as well as to have quality friends who walk in the love of God, she first had to become a person who walked in the love of God herself. 
 

STICKING CLOSER THAN A BROTHER

 
A Christ-like friend is one “…who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). True friends will be there to help each other when tough times come. It may be a word of encouragement based on Scripture, a helping hand, or some other means of support. This kind of person is also the type that will correct his friend if he sees him getting off course from the Word and plan of God. In other words, he will confront with love. Sometimes friends will be the first to notice the traps the enemy has set. A true friend will be more concerned about our staying on track with God that they are about offending us. They will diligently pray for their friend and bring correction as the Lord leads. 
 
We recently had someone share her personal testimony with us of a time when she had gone off track from the plan of God in a big way and had problems in her marriage. She credited one of her friends for being an instrument of God to correct her when she didn’t want to follow God. She said her friend was loving yet firm about what was right. Her friend gave her correction through the Word combined with genuine love, and through this, she chose to follow God’s plan for her life rather than the enemy’s agenda. 
 

IRON SHARPENING IRON

 
A true friend is an “iron-sharpening-iron” friend. Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Iron is known for being a strong building material. Therefore, two friends who are building themselves strong in the Word of God will come together to encourage and strengthen one another in the Lord. They will continually be building on, drawing out, and sharpening each other in a way that causes each one to produce greater spiritual fruit, becoming more useful for God’s Kingdom. 
 
This is one of the reasons Hebrews 10:25 says we as believers should be “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” God knows that the more we go to a great Bible-teaching church, we will encourage others, and others will encourage us in the promises of God. When we leave the presence of Godly people, we should have our countenance lifted, and they should have theirs lifted from having been with us. We should leave believing and acting upon the Scripture that states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
 
We pray this encourages you greatly, and that God will continue to bring Christ-like friends into your life.
 
We love you!
Pastors Shaun & Amy