Category Archives: Friendship
I am richly blessed by a set of incredible set of friends, a fact that I am especially reminded of whenever I attend a conference like this one (DG pastors conference, Minneapolis). Each of my wise and godly friends are grace gifts from God. But I am especially thankful for Christ, my Super-Friend, to borrow a term from Ray Ortlund’s forthcoming commentary Proverbs: Wisdom That Works (Crossway: March, 2012). It is one of those “must-reads” of 2012.
Here’s what Ortlund writes:
You might have many pseudo-friends who will let you down, even when everything is on the line. But you can also have one Super-Friend who sticks closer than a brother. When the Apostle Paul was put on trial before Caesar, all his friends hightailed it. But it was okay with Paul. He was not even angry. Why? “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17). Proverbs 18:24 is saying, real friends are not found in quantity but in quality. And no one offers us higher quality friendship than Jesus Christ.
When he laid down his life for his friends at the cross, he was forsaken, though he was loyal, so that we would never be forsaken, though we are disloyal. He was the offended brother, but he opened the castle of his heart. We put our feet frequently in his house, but he never wishes we would go away.
C. S. Lewis, in his essay on friendship, says that a new friendship starts out like this: “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” Friends do not need to be alike. They just discover how much they have in common.
Guess what you have in common with Christ? Everything you care about the most.
He cares about you.
He cares about your sin.
He cares about your future.
He thinks about you.
He understands you.
He loves you.
You are not alone.
He is here.
You can receive him now.
Will you let the eternal friendship begin for you today?
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
Daniel J. Estes, Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms (Baker Academic, 2005), page 239:
Proverbs makes it clear that friendship has a great potential for good or for bad. In essence, we choose our friends, and our friends change us. … The influence of a wise friend can sharpen one’s discernment, perspective, and insight in many ways that one could not achieve by individual efforts. Because of the significant effects that friends produce in those who are close to them, to a large degree the friends we choose determine what kind of people we become. Consequently, we must choose our friends wisely, for in choosing them we are likely choosing our own future.
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (I-II Q4 A8):
If we speak of the happiness of this life, the happy man needs friends, as the Philosopher says [Aristotle?], not, indeed, to make use of them, since he suffices himself; nor to delight in them, since he possesses perfect delight in the operation of virtue; but for the purpose of a good operation, viz., that he may do good to them; that he may delight in seeing them do good; and again that he may be helped by them in his good work. For in order that man may do well, whether in the works of the active life, or in those of the contemplative life, he needs the fellowship of friends.
But if we speak of perfect Happiness which will be in our heavenly Fatherland, the fellowship of friends is not essential to Happiness; since man has the entire fullness of his perfection in God. But the fellowship of friends conduces to the well-being of Happiness. Hence Augustine says that the spiritual creatures receive no other interior aid to happiness than the eternity, truth, and charity of the Creator. But if they can be said to be helped from without, perhaps it is only by this that they see one another and rejoice in God, at their fellowship.