For many years, I thought I had missed the boat on true friendship. In many ways, I had. You see, I didn't quite know what true friendship looked like. So now, at the ripe age of 32, I am getting a clue. I am glad to get this information while there is still time to teach it to my two young children. My pastor has been doing a series on adversity at church. This morning, he spoke on how Adversity can be a test of true friendship, God's way of sifting our friendships. He spoke from I Samuel on the relationship between David and Jonathon. .He posed the question, are you building true friendships that will strengthen and encourage your walk with God. Well, I did end up with Christian friends, but that wasn't generally our focus. Oh, there was always, "I will pray for you." But until recently, I didn't understand the importance of this need.
We should examine our friendships for character. God wants friendships to be edifying, to be proactive, to first and foremost want to please God. Is my life about what pleases me? Is my life about what pleases God? He used the example from 2 Sam of Amnon having a friend that gave him bad advise, and he ended in destruction. This quality is about Lordship. Also under this category is that a true friendship is a Covenant based on trust, which is each individual's responsibility. This is apposed to a contract, which is based on limiting your liability. A covenant cannot be broken even if circumstances change. David's friendship with Jonathon was a covenant with God.
The second quality is Love. Real love is a decision of our will. Sacrifice all we have, lay it down on the behalf of someone else. A feeling of oneness comes in that relationship decisions. This leads to right feelings. The third quality is Loyalty. This is characterized by staying even when things get tough, enduring when there is adversity. Jonathon and David had loyalty through thick and thin. Jonathon put his own life on the line for David, even though he could have jealously wanted to be king himself. The 4th quality is of Conduct. Look in Luke 10: 30-37 and 15:12-16. We see a picture of the Prodigal son and also of the Good Samaritan. The componant of conduct are sacrifice, endurance, consistency.
None of this is from me, it is totally copied from my sermon notes this morning. If anybody wants a tape, I can arrange that. God really spoke to me about my responsibilities in my relationships. So I want to take this moment to say a bit about my three best friends. I am reposting this last picture of us together over the summer. Charity, Stephanie, and Amanda have shown Lordship, Love, Loyalty and Conduct to me over the past month in a huge way. God has used each of them to give glory to himself in my life. I know that I will make mistakes ande so will they, but ultimately, we can all learn how to be the kind of friends that God wants us to be. What a huge responsibility, and a huge gift.
Girls, I love you all, and on a lighter note, I am looking forward to the Covered Bridge Festival, as long as someone besides me is responsible for directions. :)