The heart is delighted by the fragrance of oil and sweet perfumes,
and in just the same way, the soul is sweetened by the wise counsel of a friend. Proverbs 27:9 (the voice)
In today’s fast pace world of social media, that word is used a lot, like a buzz word. How many “friends” do you have on Facebook?
Social media is a great and easy way to stay connected with people.
I have “friends” that I connect with in Argentina, they’re acquaintances from long ago. It’s nice to see what they are up to and what new and exciting things are going on in their lives.
But what really is a friend?
A friend is someone you can hang out with, have fun with, and depend on. The Bible has a lot to say about friendship, but it’s different from what you might expect.
Do You Have True Spiritual Friends?
In these days of spiritual unrest and moral decay, it’s important to have people you can count on to help you along your journey of faith.
In the gospels, Jesus himself demonstrated the importance of spiritual friendship. Didn’t Jesus choose twelve men to be in His inner circle and called them His friends (John 15:15)?
And even within the 12, Jesus had three special friends whom He included in very special “ministry moments” such as raising a child from the dead, the Transfiguration, and even His most powerful time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The three special friends were Peter, James and John.
The importance of friends is also emphasized in the story of the healing of the paralytic man in Luke 5.
Remember the story? Jesus was in a home in Capernaum and so many people came into the house and blocked the doors and windows so that no one could get in.
I love picturing this scene. Who knows how long these men had carried their friend in order to reach the house where scripture says, “The power of the Lord was present to heal them.”
They had probably heard of all the miraculous healings Jesus had done to this point and knew that this may be the only hope for their friend. They also knew that he could not go on his own, being a paralytic. So, they embarked on a journey to help him get healed.
As the story continues, when these faithful travelers come to Capernaum, the house was overflowing with people who weren’t going anywhere. I guess like people today camped out for a movie premier or something. NOT BUDGING!
They saw the way to Jesus was literally blocked. So discouraged… they took their friend home … right?
WRONG! They put their minds together and came up with another plan. They carried their friend up to the roof of the house and broke through the tiles to let their paralytic friend down right in front of Jesus.
I love this picture don’t you… What a great scene! Can you see it?
What a spectacle, not to mention the mess they made to get their friends to Jesus. No holds barred.
I’m always amazed with Jesus’s response to the actions of these friends. In Luke 5:20 is recorded: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Whose faith was Jesus talking about? Jesus saw their faith, He responded to the faith of his friends.
Faith Tests on Your Spiritual Journey
The personal hardships that we come up against might prove too much for us to face alone.
We always have God’s presence, He promises never to leave us or forsake us, but sometimes we need some flesh and blood help too.
We might need someone to make a meal, clean a house, run an errand, or just hand us a Kleenex.
Our fast paced world crowds out our time, focus, and energy on spiritual friends. Social media has made it too easy for us to text or message rather than sit and talk face to face with people and really form great relationships.
Having friends and being a good friend takes time, but it is worth the effort. I have been so fortunate and blessed to have such wonderful friends to support my husband and I during these last few months.
His cancer diagnosis was a real shock to us and without the help and support of our friends, we would have never made it. When we had not the strength, they were there to hold us up and lower us down to the healing hands of Jesus.
Side note: Just because you are spiritual friends doesn’t mean you have to be serious and holy all the time either. Spiritual friends have fun together. There is nothing like a good, long belly laugh about something only a true friend would find humorous with you.
If you know you have spiritual friends, why not write them a thank you as soon as you finish this devotion? If you are just now realizing that you need some spiritual friends, ask God to bring them into your life and open your spiritual eyes to see whom He might be sending your way.
There is a great song that denotes this very special thought of spiritual friendship: I hope you enjoy it :-).