How to find true friends - sometimes it's difficult. People in the world will give their definition, but I think of a relationship talked about in 1 Samuel 18:1ff.
Jonathan had some military success against the enemies of Israel. That and the fact of being the king's son led people to assume he'd be the successor, but Jonathan knew that David was God's intended man for the job. He loved David like himself.
I'd like to know that someone loves me the way Jonathan loved David. Today some may distort this and look for something odd in it. Our generation can hardly believe such a relationship could exist.Anyway, be a true friend.
“I love you” is such an easy phrase to say, especially between a guy and a girl. Read Proverbs 17:17. It'd be too easy to love someone when all goes well, when it's in ones own interest, but a true friend loves in all circumstances. “I need someone to love me.” “I've given enough.” - a true friend loves in all circumstances. To find friends like this, we must be friends like this.
I. “A true friend is the one who arrives when the others are leaving.”
I think of an example that may be very simple. Two days ago my family had a big surprise - a car hit us. For hours we stayed there with the police, ambulance, etc. We were quite a sight. My wife had to leave and I had to fill out paperwork. Jean-Pierre arrived on the scene and sat with my kids. There were many other things to do - and it was a hot day. That was a sacrifice.
Daniel helped us out even though he had to get to the conference at 20h. Why? We do these things when we're not thinking of ourselves but of others. Love is when I stop thinking about me. When I'm thinking about me, it's hopeless, but when I start thinking about others, I find that they reciprocate. I lived in Nantes, then in Toulouse. In Toulouse, people said that northerners were cold. In Nantes they said that southerners were hypocritical.
II. Friendship one receives is a function of the friendship one gives.
John 15:13. How many people have you died for? Well you're still here, so I suppose none. But it's possible to “die” to oneself by deciding not to live selfishly but rather for others. A mother who gives all of her day to take care of her kids - feed them, make sure they're safe when playing, put them to bed - that's a woman who's dying to herself.
When I start sacrificing myself, I have a pretty good chance of encountering friends. We can start with small sacrifices. For example, if Robert tells me (Jason) he's ready to die for me and I ask him to spend an hour talking with me, then he abandons me, I can't believe him. If we can't make little sacrifices, who's to believe we'll make big ones? Small sacrifices also prepare us to be able to make big sacrifices.
III True friends are committed to each other.
There's a word I hear less and less often - commitment. In a marriage or between brothers, refusing to give up and leave no matter how difficult things may get is true commitment.
In meeting with the church, we need commitment. To say “oh, I don't feel like going this week” doesn't work. You must be there for others when they need you and they are to be there for you when you need them.We need to be honest in our relationships. Sometimes that means people get hurt - does that mean we should stop? I'd say no. If our conversations are merely about small events going on around us, our relationships are superficial.
If Daniel and I have a close relationship, we're going to bother each other sometimes. There will be obstacles. What do we do with them? Do we decide to abandon each other?If so, our circle of friends will shrink until we find ourselves alone. Instead we must decide to confront the problem honestly and forgive each other when necessary. The secret of friendship isn't to walk on eggshells so nobody's feelings get hurt, the secret is to love and forgive each other when necessary. 1 Corinthians 13.“a friend at all times.”
OK, so now that we understand what a real friend is, how do we find some? Not just anywhere. If you go to a bar and start talking about problems, you can find others who have problems and become buddies. A “friendship” that forms so quickly on something so superficial probably isn't going to last. It takes a little more wisdom than that. In an “inter-faith” meeting, the topic of true friends was discussed and the conclusion was that without God, there are none. The only thing that can give one the ability to love someone else when it's difficult is to know that you are already loved. Who has already loved everyone here? God! He gave Jesus to be a sacrifice because he loves us. This makes us capable of loving others.
In Exodus 33 it says…Job - God refers to Job as a friend.God takes pleasure in being able to call you his friend. He is already a true friend to us. James 2:23. You want to be God's friend? Find true friends - one of whom being God makes for true strength.
Find people who have the same goal. One of my favorite passages -
1 - we're alone
2 - we have a friend
3.-we have God
Try this at your house: take a tree branch and try to break it. Try with two. Now braid 3 together and you'll see how tough it is to break. Here's a place to find true friends - not because we're necessarily the coolest people in Strasbourg, but because we're searching to be like God. Galatians 5:22 Everyone who is a member of Christ's body seeks to be like him - loving at all times.