Friendships (part 1)
We all have friends. Some acquaintances. Some best friends. Some for life. Some for seasons.
As soon as God created the first man, he declared that it was not good for the man to be alone, so God created a companion for him (Genesis 2:18). Creating woman as a companion for man was not an afterthought. When God created man, and then stated it was not good for him to be alone, He wasn’t having a senior moment. No, God’s plan has always been and always will be perfect. He created us to live in community and experience human friendships. He designed us for relationships.
What does the word relationship bring to your mind? Blissful days of love and harmony? Maybe not. I know I am not the only one with a history of strained relationships. Some of our greatest blessings, as well as our greatest difficulties, are intertwined in our relationships. So why are relationships sometimes so difficult?
Until Genesis 3, man and woman lived in perfect communion with God. And even then, conflict does not arise inherently between man and woman, but comes from an outside source. Our enemy, the devil, introduces doubt and stirs up selfishness. Satan loves nothing more than tossing chaos onto God’s perfect order.
So what do we do about it? How do we block Satan’s attacks on our relationships?
Join me over the next couple of months as we dig into God’s Word for answers. As we do, a picture of God’s design for relationships will begin to take shape. Start today by looking at a couple of passages in Proverbs. These passages show us that God designed friendships to provide needed accountability and maturity for His people.
One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound wisdom. Proverbs 18:1 (CSB)
God’s Word warns us about living in isolation. God created us to live in community. He knew we would need accountability. In our humanity, we tend to make selfish choices without regard for others. And especially without regard for God’s instructions. It is unwise to live isolated from other believers. We need others to hold us responsible for making wise choices that honor God and follow His Word.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6 (NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
God encourages us to not only be honest in our friendships but to use that relationship to develop each other’s spiritual maturity. Between close, trusted friends, honesty is cherished. That honesty may appear to be wounding, but in reality, leads to a change for the better. As we discuss difficult circumstances with a trusted friend, God uses our interaction to grow us spiritually. Iron is used here as being both the sharpening object as well as the object being sharpened. The Pulpit Commentary states it this way: …. the writer names iron as the sharpener rather than the whetstone, because he wishes to denote that one man is of the same nature as another, and that this identity is that which makes mutual action possible and advantageous.
Join me in two weeks as we continue to develop this picture of Friendship God’s Way, digging into a passage in Ecclesiastes.
Until then, how have your interactions with friends helped to develop and grow your spiritual maturity? I would love to hear how God has worked in your life!