You know that you have found a great friend when you can share your deepest fears and happiest moments with. You also know that you have found a true friend when that person becomes a source of hope for you to live for Christ. For a Christian, your greatest friend will be someone who would love you enough to speak into your life if you were straying from Christ. For a Christian, your greatest friend will not be afraid of your rejection if they admonished you to repent of anger, or to turn away from selfish habits that are hurting others. Wisdom says,
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” – (Proverbs 27:6).
A true friend will point you to the safety of Christ;
an enemy will point you to something else.
When I was 18 [Fall of 1982], single, and somewhat afraid and lonely, God used a song to comfort and remind me how close and near Christ is to me – that he would be my best friend all my life. I was a new student at a bible college, in another state – far away from home and familiar faces. In those days, I was venturing out of my southern gospel roots for Christian Music of a different sound. I didn’t know who James Taylor was and I didn’t know that “You’ve Got A Friend” was not a “Christian” song. I heard the song [written in 1971 by Carole King], can’t remember where I was – but I thought that this was a Christian song because as much as I knew of scripture in those days, that’s what Jesus would say to me if I was lonely. Jesus would say,
“When you’re down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothin’, nothin’ is goin’ right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’ to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend
Listen to this song, and imagine that you have never heard it before. You’re lonely and troubled, and you think that you have turned your radio dial to a Christian station and you hear this . . .
The reason why this song became such a smash hit is because everyone wants and needs a friend who will come running when you need them. This world can be a very lonely and dark place at times. There is something wrong and we all know it – but we all don’t know Jesus. This deep desire to have a friend is because we were made to have fellowship and communion with God. I know of no friend who can fully keep a promise like, “anytime you need me for any reason – I’ll be there,” other than Jesus. Wise king Solomon also said this,
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” – (Proverbs 18:24).
In the scope of what Scripture was aiming at, Jesus Christ would become that friend who will and can do what no family member can: forgive your sins and love you forever, for it was King Jesus who said that he is here and is greater than Solomon (Matt. 12:42).
I have been blessed to have several great friendships in this life: my parents and extended family members, people along the way of life in education and my church family, and especially my wife – but no has been a friend like Jesus. You will only have a few great friendships in your entire life. Your best friendships in your life should be someone who loves Jesus more than you. That way, if you begin to lose your way, your friends will risk losing you to point you back to Christ – your best friend. The safety of a great friendship in this life is priceless!