Thursday, 9 August 2012

Greatest Friend

A True Friend

A friendship is a relationship between two people who share similar interests and values. Friendships are one of the most important things in life. We are social beings, and without others to share our lives, we would feel lonely. Like any other relationship, friendship needs to be nurtured or it will die. We all have friends. Everyone wants a true friend, and many of us believe that we have a friend who can be called a true friend. When can we call a friend a true friend, and when can our friends take us as their true friends. Is your friend a true friend? Though all of us have family and distant family, most of us rely on friends for advice, comfort and inspiration. How do we define a relation that can be called as one of true friendship?

Great friendships are priceless. Good friends can lift your spirits, make you laugh, and remind you that you are loved. Good Friends Are Real and Honest Friends make you feel comfortable with yourself, so you don't need to act like something you're not. Your friends know your shortcomings and love you anyway. You are perhaps the "best version" of yourself when you're with your friend. We discover the best of friendships with brothers and sisters who know and accept our weaknesses and imperfections. If we're easily offended or hold on to bitterness, we'll have a hard time making friends. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes now and then. If we take a truthful look at ourselves, we'll admit that we bear some of the blame when things go wrong in a friendship. A good friend is quick to ask forgiveness and ready to be forgiving.

How can we find true friendship?

How can we find true friendship in this often phony, temporary world? Friendship involves recognition or familiarity with another's personality. Friends often share likes and dislikes, interests, pursuits, and passion. How can we recognize potential friendship? Signs include a mutual desire for companionship and perhaps a common bond of some kind. Beyond that, genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life. True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative criticism.

True friendship involves relationship. Those mutual attributes we mentioned above become the foundation in which recognition transpires into relationship. Many people say, "Oh, he's a good friend of mine," yet they never take time to spend time with that "good friend." Friendship takes time: time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories, time to invest in each other's growth.

Trust is essential to true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up in public the next day! Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy a friendship in a hurry. Faithfulness and loyalty are key to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely. In true friendship, there is no backbiting, no negative thoughts, no turning away.

True friendship requires certain accountability factors. Real friends encourage one another and forgive one another where there has been an offense. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle. Friends are dependable. In true friendship, unconditional love develops. We love our friends no matter what and we always want the best for our friends.

True friendship stories are found throughout the Bible. In Genesis 18:17-33, we read about God sharing His intentions with Abraham. Abraham responds by telling God his thoughts and feelings about the situation. God and Abraham are able to do this because they trust and respect each other.

First Samuel 20 focuses on the friendship of David and Jonathan. These two men truly cared for each other and had great trust and confidence in one another. David was running for his life from Jonathan's father, Saul. Jonathan recognized that David was innocent. Because of the true friendship they shared, David survived Saul's assassination attempts and went on to become one of Israel's greatest kings.

Real and true friendship involves freedom of choice, accountability, truth, and forgiveness. Peter and Jesus give us this example: Peter, afraid for his life after Jesus is led away from the Garden of Gethsemane, denies knowing Jesus (John 18). As He is led away by His accusers, Jesus casts a look toward Peter that says, "I knew you would deny Me, and I forgive you" (John 21).

Real friendship looks at the heart, not just the "packaging." Genuine friendship loves for love's sake, not just for what it can get in return. True friendship is both challenging and exciting. It risks, it overlooks faults, and it loves unconditionally, but it also involves being truthful, even though it may hurt. Genuine friendship, also called "agape" love, comes from the Lord. The Lord Jesus calls us His friends and He laid down His life for us (John 15).

Relationships in real life involve different levels of friendships, and that's okay. But humans are designed by God for lasting relationships. Often our isolationist society offers only vague, empty relationships. God wants us to have friends here on earth. Most of all, He wants us to be friends with Him!

God's Word tells us that a friend sticks closer than a brother, and that in order for one to be a friend, one must show themselves friendly (Proverbs 18:24). The question is: what type of friend do you desire to be?

Generally speaking there are Three Types of Friendships:

1) First -Nurturing or mentoring Friendship.
To each one of us friendship has a different meaning. For all of us it is a gift. Friendship needs to be cherished and nurtured. It needs to be cultivated on a daily basis. Then shall it germinate and yield its fruit. Nurturing means providing for, caring for, taking care of, helping to grow and making the other feel heard and understood.  Emotional responses to nurturing are a feeling of calm, warmth, tenderness, peace, relaxation, being soothed. There are times in your life where you will come across someone who gives you advice, makes you feel better about life, and sets you on the right path. You might wonder if that person is a friend, mentor, or both. Most importantly, mentoring is about helping others to grow, whether it developing life skills, learning how to deal with tough situations or just sharing experiences with someone who can listen and understand.

Nurturing Friendship is about being there for someone on their journey through life. Understanding them, listening to them, encouraging them, supporting them and Making them feel worthwhile, building their confidence and helping them to believe in themselves. Moreover being a positive role model. Mentoring friendship really works to change lives. In general, an effective mentoring relationship is characterized by mutual respect, trust, understanding, and empathy. Good mentors are able to share life experiences and wisdom, as well as technical expertise. They are good listeners, good observers, and good problem-solvers. They make an effort to know, accept, and respect the goals and interests of a friend. In the broad sense intended here, mentoring friendship is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develops into a successful individual with continuing guidance and support.

2) second-Mutual Friendship.

Friendship is a bond between two people who share a mutual and supportive relationship. They share and care each other and Give Mutual Edification. Someone you can call anytime of the day and will lend you a hand in your troubled times and never leave your side in the worst of circumstance. Someone who will keep you company and share the same joys with you. Someone you can trust and share your ideas with, give you advices and share the same tastes in doing enjoyable activities.

Mutual friendships are not based on mentoring. Rather, in these situations the two individuals are usually more closely aligned on a spiritual level, balancing the natural flow of giving and receiving between genuine friends. Mutual friendships are quite different than nurturing friendships. These relationships don't usually happen overnight. Typically, they develop over time as both friends progress in wisdom and spiritual maturity. A strong friendship blossoms naturally when two friends grow together in faith, goodness, knowledge, and other godly graces.

Time is always a precious gift you can give to a friend. It is important to find time talking and listening to a friend's insights, experiences, sentiments, and problems. In this way, we build a strong bond among our friends and a deeper understanding of each ones personality and peculiarities. When we choose our friends, we learn to accept the individual uniqueness of each one. We unveil our friends' character and start to understand their personality, behaviors, attitudes and even their weaknesses. We learn to love and accept even their bad sides because we take them as they are. Some would turn away and leave. Others would care to help change their friends and seek for improvement but it does always succeed as we planned.
It's hard to change a person. We just need to understand and accept their indifference as they accept and understand ours. If we broaden our understanding and be patient we will be able to accept their idiosyncrasies. It is part of their being and as long we wanted to save our friendship, we need to learn to be understanding and accept the uniqueness of our friend. Losing interest in friendship happens. People change every day and it affects the relationship. If the changes are not acceptable, people lose interest in continuing the friendship. Doing nothing also looses the interest of both parties. We need to keep moving and enjoy the adventure with our friends. It is ideal to give spice and joy to any relationship so not to lose interest. There are three types of mutual friendships. a) Positive mutual relationship b) Negative mutual relationship c) Passive mutual relationship.

3)Third - Toxic friendship.

“Stop being deceived: "Wicked friends lead to evil ends." (“Do not be misled: Bad Company corrupts good character.")(Bible)

Toxic means poisonous and potentially deadly. In the general connotation of a "toxic" relationship, however, I would say that a relationship becomes "toxic" when one or more parties have an agenda that is as much harmful to themselves as it might be to others. There is no crystal ball to predict that a particular friend will turn out to be a reliable, positive relationship in your life or, by contrast, that a negative association will cause you emotional distress, or worse. Since destructive or negative friends are not always that easy to spot, being forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. Some friends may be betrayers from the start; others may turn into betrayers because of what's going on in their lives or because of changes in their personality. Sometimes you need to consider what your friend is really like within the contexts of all the behaviors. I can't emphasize enough that you need to consider the root cause. A toxic friend is any friend who brings you nothing but grief, disruption, pain, abuse, and trouble. Friend that bring nothing to the table but their own issues, needs and drama are toxic friends. Sure there are those friends that are needy but they usually don't bring misery to your door like a toxic friend does.

An example from my own experience is that I had a friend who was extremely negative about everything. He has leaders and co-workers that he complained about constantly but refused to do anything to correct his own behavior or correct others. Finally we had a major disagreement and I took the opportunity to tell him that we had too many fundamental differences, which I was tired of dealing with it and that life is too short to choose to associate with someone you don't get along with. I told him that I had no hard feelings toward him but felt that we needed to go our separate ways. That was almost three years ago and I still feel relief when I think of it. When you are consistently negatively affected by your association with someone, you've tried to overcome your differences and the other person has no interest in changing things, you're better off cutting your losses and saying goodbye. There is no difficulty in this saying; he who frequents the company of bad or corrupt men will soon be as they are. He may be sound in the faith, and have the life and spirit of leadership, and at first frequent their company only for the sake of their pleasing conversation, or their literary accomplishments: and he may think his faith proof against their infidelity; but he will soon find, by means of their glozing speeches, his faith weakened; and when once he gets under the empire of doubt, unbelief will soon prevail; his bad company will corrupt his morals;
So what does the bible say about Negative friends?

Here are 3 unfortunate issues that can happen:

Slander - Jeremiah 9:4-5 says, “Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer.  Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.”(NIV)

Friends are human – therefore, we all sin.  God is telling us in this scripture that we are not to be trusted by nature.  Even if we don’t mean to slander or speak against our friends, it’s hard to not become jealous or envious of what they have.  Jealously creates a lot of evil and evil turns into speaking evil against your friend.

Betrayal – Lamentations 1:2 says, “Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.”It’s hard dealing with this feeling of being betrayed.  This seems to be the hardest thing to get over at times.  When you put all of your trust in someone else and they hurt you, or turn their back on you, sometimes it’s hard to trust again. Betrayal can be hard to bounce back from.

Untrustworthy – Micah 7:5 says, “Do not trust a neighbor;  put no confidence in a friend.  Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips.”As the saying goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  You can have friends, but you can’t put all of your trust into one human being.  I’m pretty sure, we have all had friends who we shared our most intimate secrets with and the next thing you know, the whole neighborhood knows… untrustworthy!

Advantage of maintaining true friendship.

Whatever age you are, your friends are an important element in your life. Here are five compelling reasons to keep old friendships alive while making new ones. Changes are an ongoing part of our lives. However, we can continue nurturing our friendships if we have the desire to do so.  A true friend will try to understand the absence of a friend in times of crisis and would accept any forms of connection that is available. In this world of technology, distance is no longer a burden in nurturing a friendship. We can always connect if we find way because according research friendship is greatly beneficial to the following areas of our life.

1)     Edify us to overcome Anxiety and worry. We all know that loneliness makes us unhappy, but research suggests it can be a killer, too. A study found lonely people reacted more intensely to life’s challenges. For some people, that led to elevated levels of the stress hormone epinephrine, which can result in high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes over time.
2)     Motivate us to maintain Discipline and Physical fitness-Health habits can be contagious among friends, so lead the way. US researchers who analyzed the social ties of more than 12,000 people found clusters of obese people and clusters of thin people, suggesting that friends have a strong influence on each other’s weight.
3)     Help us to live Longer Life-Reach out to friends with health problems – they may find it tough to ask for your support. According to researchers  who looked at 500 women with symptoms of coronary artery disease, those with few personal contacts in their day-to- day life were twice as likely to die over the following two to four years as those who had more friends.
4)  Encourage us to keep Healthy relationships- Friendships give you the opportunity to hone your relationships skills, which, research suggests, can help pave the way for stronger intimate relationships. Studies indicate that people who lack close relationships are more prone to depression, alcohol and drug abuse.
5)     Inspire us to be Creative and Proactive- Children who are good at sports tend to be happier with their friendships, and researchers say the same applies to adults. Bolster your friendships by exercising with pals.

Good news about a true friend?
The good news is that Jesus gives you a way out! Even though He knows we need each other and should depend on each other at times, no one can be the perfect person or friend that we need them to be – it’s impossible! "He who desires friends, must himself first be friendly."  Proverbs 18:24a A true friend loves at ALL times. Proverbs 17:17 "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24b This friend will never fail you, His name is Jesus. JESUS CHRIST will always be your friend, even when you are not friendly, or when others fail you. However, HIS goal for our lives is that we would bless His life by answering His prayer in John 17 for Covenant Love to be manifested – "We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God MUST also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21) Do we really believe - "No greater love than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend." John 15:13?

What is true friendship according to the Bible?

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”(Proverbs 17:17)

The Scriptures speak much to us about friendship. The subject of friendship is given a high priority in the Bible. We are warned, for instance, of the evil of friendships with the world (James 4:4). He who will be the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Further, the Bible teaches us that we are to establish our friendships based upon faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible says in proverbs 18:24, “Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers.”(GNT)

We should translate it this way: A man of friends may be broken up, but (by contrast) there is lover who sticks closer than a brother. The idea is that the first part of the verse, the first clause, emphasizes the truth of the limitation of human friendships, of even hallowed and intimate friendships in this present life. A man of friends, that is, a person who possesses friends, may be broken up. He may still suffer an experience in life which devastates him. The word "broken up" literally means "to break in pieces by a blow." But, and here is the contrast, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” There is a friend whose friendship has no limitations. There is a friend whose friendship nothing can break, nothing can separate you from it, and nothing can part us from Him. Paul said in Romans 8:35-39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Jesus Christ is the unique friend. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is in a class by Himself. No one else can be a friend as He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and that friend is Jesus. Jesus Himself identifies Himself as the friend of God's people in John 15:13-15. It is in this aspect, as a friend, that He discloses to us the depths of His heart, the depths of God's purpose and love.

Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than a brother was testified also by His enemies, in Mathew 11:19. His enemies identified Him as our friend when, observing His mingling with His people whom He had come to call to repentance, and seeing that He was unafraid to associate Himself with them, they said in derision: "He is a friend of publicans and sinners."And, if you still have any doubt that this is Jesus Christ who is the friend that sticketh closer than a brother, then hear His own words in Mathew 28:20 when He ascended up into heaven. He said, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."  There is a limitation of all human friendships. No matter how close and intimate, no matter how holy and sanctified in Jesus Christ, a person who has friends may yet be broken up. The mere fact of human friendship cannot protect you from being devastated. You may, indeed, come to a point where your friends, your intimate friends, a husband or a wife or that close friend, cannot stand between you and death and adversity.

Do you have friends? Yet, you may be broken up, that is, you may come to a time in your life's journey where these friends cannot walk with you. It may be some mental agony, some profound and deep anxiety or anguish. It may be some personal fear or struggle that you simply cannot divulge to anybody, that you do not even know words that could explain what you are feeling. It may be upon a bed of pain with your friends and loved ones standing by you, unable to know what you are experiencing at that moment in your heart. Then there is death. What friend on the earth, no matter how intimate that person may be with you, will go with you in death, will be able to hold your hand as you pass through death? No. No matter how intimate your friends are, the hand of that friendship is parted in death. They let go of you in death. You pass over without them, without your wife, without your husband, without your friend, without your dear loved one.
Yes, he who has friends may be broken up. But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. There is a friend to whom there are no limitations. That is, there is no darkness or pain, sorrow or fear, not even death and the grave, that can part us from Him. There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. You see, behind this proverb is the great truth revealed in the Bible that God, of free grace, has placed His children in Jesus Christ, and has done this before the world began.

Now, when it speaks here of a brother, it is referring to the highest affection which is known among men, the affection of a physical brother to his physical brother. Under the blessing of God, that is a very intimate tie. That, too, needs the grace of God and the cultivating of the Word of God because that is not always so. Sometimes physical brothers can be opposites. They can be so different. The Bible gives us the example of Jacob and Esau. They were twin brothers, yet they were not close. Spiritually they were different, totally different. But yet, it is true that between one's physical brother or sister can exist a most intimate bond and tie. There is nothing so precious as to love your flesh and blood brother or sister, to enjoy each other's company, to have an ease in each other's fellowship, to have a kindred feeling and to know what the other person is feeling, and to have someone who is of a kindred soul and has sympathy for your thoughts and loves you to such an extent that he will die for you. Oh, the love between brothers can be so deep and intimate and real.

But Scripture is declaring here that Jesus Christ sticks closer than any brother. He is the faithful friend. The word "sticks" is literally "cleave" or "adhere." It refers to the soldering of metals, of joining metals together. Jesus Christ is the one who sticks, who is faithful to His children. When our sins called out for punishment, and when our names and sins were mentioned and called out by holy judgment and holy judgment said, "I have so-in-so here, and here are a list of his sins" (and none of those sins were omitted), and then holy judgment cried out, "Is there anyone who would claim to know this miserable wretch of a sinner?" Jesus Christ, the friend who is closer than any brother, stood up and came forward and confessed that, by God's grace, He was our friend to stand in our place and to die for us.

When we were asked, "Does anyone know this man, Jesus Christ? Anyone know Him?" Then the Bible answers and says, "We hid our faces from him." No, we did not confess Him. By nature we disowned Him. We said, "Away with Him, we want nothing to do with Him." But He, of His wonderful grace, confessed our name faithfully before the Father upon the cross. When Satan would say, "They are mine"; when sin would say, "Let me have them and drag them away to eternal death," Christ was the one who stuck closer than a brother. 2 Timothy 2:13, "He cannot deny himself." He abode faithful; He is the friend closer than any brother.

Do you live in the consciousness of His undying faithfulness and love? Do you? Then why are you discouraged? Why are you downhearted if you have the faithful friend? Oh, be sure that if you live in sin He will not give you to know that He is your friend. If you walk in self-righteousness He will put distance between you and Him, He will not give you to experience this blessing. No, He grants it only in the way of obedience, only in the way of knowing and confessing and hating our sins. In that way He reveals the blessedness and the wonder that He is our faithful friend and Savior.

Oh, the wonder! God has provided us who are castaways, who are lonely and wretched, hell-deserving sinners, the faithful friend. When the virgin Mary brought forth her son, God gave us the friend who would stick closer than a brother, the one who would stand before the gates of hell and say, "These are my friends, given me of the Father, whom I shall redeem."

One who has Him for a friend shall never be broken up. Nothing shall pry us loose from His hand. Nothing shall tear us from His embrace. For He said, "No man plucketh them out of my hand." Jesus is the friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Is He your friend?
There is an example of true friendship between David and Saul’s son Jonathan, who, in spite of his father Saul’s pursuit of David and attempts to kill him, stood by his friend. You will find that story in 1 Samuel chapter 18 through chapter 20.

The important trait of such relations is that we are not much worried about exposing ourselves. We speak about everything in our mind without worrying about what our friends will think. We are sure that they will take our talk in the spirit it was made. We are unguarded and open with friends in our talk. The book of Proverbs is another good source of wisdom regarding friends. “A friend loves at all times, and a true friend is a little more than a very good friend. A true friend will support you even if it hurts his/her own interest. A true friend will understand your motives and needs and will be with you without any analysis or criticism. A true friend will come forward to help without any request and be with us in need without showing it or expecting anything in return. With a true friend, you can be sure that you will get help to the extent possible by him/her. Nothing will remain unturned. A mother is a true friend of her children. If we share such relations with an adult we can say that we are true friends. Friends are of like mind, as most common principle of friendship goes” Can two walk   together, except they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

In your hour of desperation, a true friend will support you even if the whole world opposes you. As Jesus taught in the parable of Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) A true friend is not an opportunist.  Rather he understands and readily willing to help and share compassionate feelings in soul, body and mind.

There is a true friend who chosen you first and knew you before you were born. Jesus Christ the son of the living God. He will never forsake or disappoint.  He’s a friend that you can count on, and trust. Jesus is the only friend you can call a True Friend, who is always faithful and just. Your heart, your soul, your mind, Jesus is the greatest friend you are ever going to find. A friend who will stand by you, Is a real friend, indeed. Jesus is the one true friend; you are always going to need.

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13). May His name be exalted and blessings to all of us.

 What is true friendship according to Jesus?

The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the definition of a true friend in John 15:13-15:

“Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Jesus is the classical and pure example of a true friend, for He laid down His life for His “friends.” What is more, anyone may become His friend by trusting in Him as his personal savior, being born again and receiving new life in Him. Jesus is the finest example of a true friend. His love for us is sacrificial, never selfish. He demonstrated it not only through his miracles of healing, but more fully through the humble service of washing the disciples' feet, and then ultimately, when he laid down his life on the Cross. If we choose our friends based only on what they have to offer, we'll rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship.

There is an example of true friendship between David and Saul's son Jonathan, who, in spite of his father Saul's pursuit of David and attempts to kill him, stood by his friend. You will find that story in 1 Samuel chapter 18 through chapter 20.Proverbs is another good source of wisdom regarding friends. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (proverbs 17:17). "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (proverbs 18:24). The issue here is that in order have a friend, one must be a friend. "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses" (proverbs 27:6).

Proverbs 17:17 says
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
In life, you have friends, and then you have a “real friend”. This is the one who stays closer to you than a brother. This person sits beside you on the roller coaster of life and never abandons you.A true friend stands by you at the grave of your spouse or dear loved one. You recognize that person’s presence is always nearby, even when everyone else has left.When our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, was dying all alone on that old rugged cross, He was willing to bear all the sins of mankind. The one thing that He didn’t want to bear was the thought of being apart from His Father. Jesus could not bear the thought or the pain of God possibly abandoning Him.
It was just a few hours later when Jesus felt the absence if His Father’s presence. That is the exact thing that He didn’t want to feel, however, He experienced it. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

God will never remove His presence from you! His Son experienced that for you. No One else would be willing to experience that for you, except a “Friend”. That is exactly what we have in Jesus Christ…A True Friend! He’s your Savior…However; He is also, YOUR FRIEND!
Proverbs 18:24 “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
This proverb reveals that a true friend is trustworthy, indeed, but emphasizes a second important truth as well. We should only expect to share complete trust with a few loyal friends. Trusting too easily can lead to ruin, so be careful about putting your confidence in a mere companion. Over time our true Christian friends will prove their trustworthiness by sticking closer than a brother or sister.
Jesus loved people. He was a friend to the individual. He said at one time to his Apostles " No longer will I call you my servants, but my friend" . How we long for a good friend in this troubled world. We are so busy that we don’t take time to cultivate friendships. It takes time. It also takes time to build our friendship with Jesus. It is our part that is lacking not His. He is waiting and longing to be that forever friend. 
Proverbs 27:6 
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted.”
True friends will build each other up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Friends like to be together simply because it feels good. We receive strength, encouragement, and love. We talk, we cry, we listen. But at times we also have to say the difficult things our dearest friend needs to hear. Yet, because of the shared trust and acceptance, we are the one person who can impact our friend's heart, for we know how to deliver the hard message with truth and grace. I believe this is what Proverbs 27:17 means when it says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."Remember, true friendships are rare treasures. They take time to nurture, but in the process we grow more Christ like.
Jesus, Our Greatest Friend.

We all really need friends. It should be true in our marriages, with our children, and even with extended family members. The Lord desires this kind of truly deep-level committed friendships to become more of a reality in our lives instead of something that is a rarity. This must begin with our own motivation to be a covenant friend, like Jesus: A covenant friend who really loves you by covering your sin and helps you by overcoming sin. A friend who loves you for the rest of your life and will always be there for you. A real friend is a source of comfort in times of grief and pain. A true friend is a source of challenge to you to be like Christ in your emotional pain. A friend who gives the grace of God to strengthen and encourage your soul and a faithful friend who has the mercy of God to give hope to your soul.

A caring friend who is able to truly share life’s deepest emotions with you and are able to share your life’s deepest hopes, dreams and desires without rejection. A compassionate friend who weeps with you when you are weeping, And a passionate friend who laughs with you when you are laughing. A trustworthy friend with whom you are able to share your life’s deepest secrets and feel confident that he or she will always love you. To be a covenant friend you MUST love Christ first, – And a covenant friend, is willing to lay down his life for you because he has truly known the love of Christ. Do you need a friend? God wants to be your true friend. Are you longing for companionship? God is always with you (Hebrews 13:5). Who do you know who needs a true friend today? God wants you to befriend others. He calls us to be His hands and feet in a world starving for true friendship.

A real friend is one who shares your feelings and be with you in all your troubles. In our world there are lots of friendships. We share messages / sms with our friends and also celebrate a day called ‘friendship day’. But there are very few friends in this world who care for us and help us in our troubles.

John 15:13 says- “Greater love has no-one than this, that he laid down his life for his friends”. We give gifts and sometimes very valuable ones, to our friends but the love and sacrifice of Jesus is incomparable to our earthly friendship. Real friends need to share, help and revive each other, if you can’t do that, you cannot be called a trust worthy and true friend.
John 15:14 says- “You are my friends if you do what I command”. You don’t have to die for Jesus, but you only obey his commandments you will indeed become his true friend.
Jesus gave us good examples of how friendship works. He was never too busy to help those in need. The man who was demon -possessed ( Mark 5 ) became a friend of Jesus. Jesus took pity and showed compassion by casting out the demons and freeing him to be whole , to go about praising God and telling his friends in Decapolis about what Jesus had done for him. " To him that is afflicted kindness should be shown." ( Job 6:14 )

Jesus was not too proud to speak to the woman at the well ( Jn. 4) and to give her water which would cause her never to thirst again, living water. He befriended her.
Jesus was a friend to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. (Jn. 11:11) He went there often and stayed in their house. He was a friend who came when Lazarus died. He raised him from the dead.

When we have a close friend, how we long to be with them and have quality time to “just talk." Jesus longs for us to come and just pour out our heart to Him. He wants to know how our life is going, what troubles and joys we have. He can help us with our problems. (Jer. 33:3) “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt.11: 28, 29)

Jesus is our friend today. He knows our weaknesses and the good in us. He is not a friend who would encourage us to remain in our weakness, or to become stunted in our growth.      (Heb. 5:12-14) He calls us to a high standard of living that would reach higher each day. ”Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend that cometh of hearty counsel." (Prov.27:9) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” (Prov. 27:6) He gently, yet strongly encourages us to look into His word and see ourselves and make correction. (Jas.1:22-27) This is what a true friend will do. He sees the potential in us and wants us to be successful in living the Christian life. He wants to see us not conformed, but transformed. (Rom. 12:2) His power can do that for us through study of His word, the Holy Spirit that He has given us as counselor to aid in our prayer to God through Him. (Heb. 4:12 ; Eph.3:16-20; Acts 20:32 )

King David was disappointed in his friends. He could not trust his closest friend. ( Psa. 35:14-16 ) This is not so with our friend Jesus. He is a forever friend, when we are faithful like Abraham. ( Isa 41:8 ) He is a friend that " loveth at all times" . ( Prov. 17:17 He will "stick closer than a brother". ( Prov.18:24 )

A true friend will share what he has. This is so with Jesus. We do not have to be rich to have the friendship of Jesus. He was sent to poor of this world.( Lk. 4:18 ) " Though He was rich , yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich. ( 11Cor. 8:9 )

To be a friend of Jesus we cannot be a friend of the world. " Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." ( Jas.4:4 ) Why would we want to be a friend of the world when we can have  Jesus? Jesus said " In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer I have overcome the world." ( Jn. 16:33 ) Jesus was not of this world. Neither was His kingdom of this world. (Jn.17:16; 18:36 ) His gospel was foolishness to men . ( 1 Cor. 11:19 ) Those who lived by it were the "off scouring " of the world. (1 Cor 4:13 )

Jesus came to a sin sick world. All mankind had lost their friendship with God. He came to redeem us, to make us friends again. ( Rom 3:24 ) Jesus showed the ultimate act of friendship. He died for us , while we were still in our sin and His enemy. The blood that He shed in His death has saved us from the wrath of God , and given us life eternal. " We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ , by whom we have now received the reconciliation." (Rom 5:6-11 ) Let us be careful to maintain that friendship with Him. “Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually that is the praise of our lips giving thanks to His name." ( Heb 13:15 ) Let us have the mind of Christ and humble ourselves and obey Him every day of our lives. Let us imitate Him and give our bodies a living sacrifice, holy , acceptable to God. ( Phil 2; Rom 12:1 )
Jesus never revealed your secrets to other, he forgives your sin, when you confess, and forgets it forever. A true friend forgives once you confess your sins, believe Jesus has forgiven you, don’t keep on having the same guilt inside your heart, even after you confess. But if you don’t confess, he will reveal the same through his chosen servants. God reveals his secrets to his servants; nothing can be hidden from the servants of God.

Proverbs 18:19 in the New Living Translation says: "It's harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars." When we've offended a true friend - whether by breaking a trust or by speaking the truth with love - we risk losing that friendship. We must be careful not to break the trust. But when not speaking the truth will cause greater hurt in our friend's life, we must be willing to sacrifice our needs for those of our friend. That is true friendship. 

If we sometimes offend a friend without meaning to, God's Word offers a solution. It's called forgiveness. There is no greater example than the love of God for us. It is so great that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order that our friendship with God might be restored. He did that in spite of the fact that we have offended Him deeply. We have disobeyed His commands, turned our backs on Him, and followed our own path. So the question remains: What type of friend do you want to be? True friendship forgives. So, if you want to become friends with Jesus too, here is what must happen. You must be convinced that you are not able to have fellowship with a Holy God, Creator and Master of the Universe, by any other means than the way He provided, Jesus Christ.

You must believe Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, and that includes you. When you believe this you are immediately cleansed of every wrong thought, word or deed you have ever done or had. God completely washes away every record of sin tied to your name! Isn't that fantastic!? You may or may not have a tremendous sense of a lifting of guilt and shame. This is a spiritual transaction, and sometimes emotions don't catch up until later. If a sense of guilt or depression continues, it might be wise to list all the sins that have been plaguing your conscience and one by one, tell God you are sorry for them, and would like them washed away in the blood Jesus shed on the cross for you. If you have been sincere, with nothing held back, then you may just as confidently claim the promise in I John 1:9, where we are told, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, [or fair] and will cleanse us of every sin."

Believe also that Jesus rose again from the dead and went back to Heaven to prepare a home for us. If He had not, we might be forgiven but would have no power to live holy and pleasingly before God. The same Jesus that forgives us, by His resurrection, helps us to be good.

If you want to meet Jesus now, you can. He is waiting to hear your cry and call to Him. He desperately wants to come into your heart and be your Lord and best friend. Pray this prayer out loud to Jesus and believe that when you finish He has answered you.
Jesus Christ, a Nurturing friend
JESUS CHRIST'S love is an abounding and abundant love. As He loves so He speaks. "He having loved, loves, to the end" John 13:1. A True friend keeps up the honor and reputation of his friend.  Though the enemy may attack us, Christ has stood up for us. CHRIST is most desirable. He is altogether lovely, "who accounted all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus CHRIST" Phil. 3:8,9,10. A friend indeed will give demonstration of his love and friendship.   CHRIST has given full and perfect evidence of His love and friendship. His thoughts are about them and His words and works are all for them. Psalms 139:17, Jer.29:11. A friend indeed gives his friend a room in his heart.  Isaiah says “He tends his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isa. 40:11.

A true friend is always ready to impart his secrets to those that are his friends.  "Shall I hide from Abraham the things I do?" Gen. 18:17; Psalms 25:14. A friend will not spare pains nor cost to help him whom he loves. CHRIST will perform to those whom He loves from the uttermost to the uttermost. A true friend will tenderly admonish whom he loves.    CHRIST will not suffer His people to lie under sin, 'O how is He concerned when they are ensnared " I know thy works, thou hast a name to live, and art dead - I have not found thy works perfect before God" Psalms 119:67,71; Rev. 3: 1, 2. A true friend will not suddenly or easily hear any report against his friend.  CHRIST will not take measures by information, but by the perfect knowledge he hath of them, and if they have done anything wrong, he will reprove them, but gently for their profit. Heb 12:8 A true friend greatly rejoices in the prosperity of his friend.    CHRIST rejoices in the prosperity of His people (I John...) He that Friend indeed will be faithful. He will not leave His friend in difficulties. CHRIST, "Having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end" John: 13:1.

The principle of friendship is also found in Amos. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). Friends are of like mind. The truth that comes from all of this is a friendship is a relationship that is entered into by individuals, and it is only as good or as close as those individuals choose to make it. Someone has said that if you can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand, you are blessed. A friend is one whom you can be yourself with and never fear that he or she will judge you. A friend is someone that you can confide in with complete trust. A friend is someone you respect and that respects you, not based upon worthiness but based upon a likeness of mind.

Finally, the real definition of a true friend comes from the Apostle Paul: "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7-8). "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." (John 15:13). Now, that is true friendship!
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. John 15:15
A true friend is someone who knows everything about you, and yet, still loves you. Jesus knows our every thought, word, and deed; past, present, and future, yet still pours out his love. Not only does Jesus love us, but he extends his grace to free us from our self-afflicted failures. Jesus is a better friend.
A real friend loves you and reminds you that Jesus is worthy to be trusted in any and every circumstance of life. Jesus knows when we are failing, and woos our hearts by the Holy Spirit to trust him. Jesus is a greater friend for he warns before we selfishly hurt others.
A faithful friend desires the best displaying sympathy and empathy in the struggles of life. Jesus experienced all the temptations, struggles, and pain of this life, he knows best how to counsel us in our perplexity. He is a superior friend.
Honesty is always first and foremost in a relationship. Even when speaking the truth in love is difficult and painful, a true friend will lovingly confront. Jesus is our best friend for he will not never wimp out, but always corrects us when we need it. Freedom exists in our relationship with Jesus to be forthright, he will confront our faults as only a true friend can do. Jesus is an excellent friend.
A good friend understands and emotionally supports their companion even if their failures are the result of their own stupidity and stubbornness. True friends trust in one another implicitly even when circumstances would question that loyalty. Jesus made a covenant bond with us, he will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus is a truly reliable friend.
Every true Christian has a Friend in heaven, of almighty power and boundless love. They are thought of, cared for, provided for, and defended by God’s eternal Son. They have an unfailing Protector, who never slumbers or sleeps, and watches continually over their interests. The world may despise them, but they have no cause to be ashamed. Father and mother even may cast them out, but Christ having once taken them up, will never let them go. They are the friend of Christ even after they are dead!

The friendships of this world are often fair-weather friendships, and fail us like summer-dried fountains, when our need is the greatest; but the friendship of the Son of God is stronger than death, and goes beyond the grave. The Friend of sinners is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Finding a true friend is like looking for a diamond on a beach of glass. They all sparkle but the true valuable diamond that is worth everything, and is oh so hard to find. That’s the challenge of finding a true friend. What characteristics make up a true friend? Let’s find out.
A true friend is always “there” for you. When your heart is broken over a lost lover or a missed promotion or when someone has been cruel to you. That friend is there to listen, let you vent, hold you, and give good council (whether you want to hear it or not).
A true friend is there in spite of your bad choices. That friend will stand by you when everyone else around you has written you off as a loser. That friend will help you up, dust you off and walk with you in spite of public opinion against them for doing it.
A friend like this is almost impossible to find; a true diamond among glass. If you can find one friend like this, you can be counted among the richest people in the world regardless of how much money you have in the bank.

I’m sure that there are people out there who can be considered true friends. I have a friend that I know I can go to when I’m in trouble, but the ONLY friend I have that I can talk to every day, vent to every day, tell my deepest feelings and secrets to any time; day or night; 24/7 and know that it will go no further. That friend is Jesus Christ. I know, I know, many of you are saying “get a life girl!” He’s not real! How can He be a true friend to me? I can’t go to the movies with Him or out to dinner. Not true. He is ALWAYS with you, whether you realize it or not.
He is very real and very near to me. He loves me when I’m right or wrong, when I screw up and make a total mess of my life. And believe me I have! The Bible says that he is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). He does! He really, really does! Currently in my life, I have acquaintances, even in church who are my “friends”. But I am realistic enough to know that they are not true friends, you know the kind that will stick by me through thick and thin. Only Jesus is that kind of friend to me.

Friends…are people whom one knows, likes and trust; as most dictionaries would define for us.  A true friend is like a gem, but many a times, we tend to take friends for granted, just as we take this short journey through life for granted. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”What is it that you cherish most in life? Some say it would be their closest and best friends. At the root of it all, we must always maintain the center of our being and know that there is only true friendship in Jesus Christ...the only one who is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)...the friend and companion that we must know, like and trust. In a nutshell; He was killed for your sins and He rose again on the third day because He was a sinless person. His death and resurrection allows you to come to Him freely to enter in to a personal relationship with Him. To become His friend! To finally have a friend who is always on your side and won’t desert you no matter what you do.

Even if you are one of those lucky people who have a lot of people who really care about you, there is no friendship that can compare to the friendship that a relationship with Jesus Christ has. There is one thing that Jesus has that NO human or any other god has: the PEACE that passes all understanding. That peace is so powerful. It helps get you through the toughest times and makes the good times so much more wonderful. He alone can give you that peace.

Dear Jesus Christ,

 I acknowledge I am a sinner, I realize that my life is empty without you. I confess that I am a sinner and ask for your forgiveness for all my sins and invite You to come into my heart and be the Lord of my life.  I know now that your death on the cross was to pay for my sins. I believe that, and love You for it.  I give you all that I have and all that I am; such as I am Right now. I accept You into my life to be my personal Saviour and Lord. From this day forth, I want You for my very Best Friend! Come live in and with me by Your Holy Spirit. I ask you to take my life and use me to glorify your name and your Kingdom. I thank you and praise you for coming into my heart and becoming my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.