As we continue talking about friendship, we look today at Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (NASB)
Being alone is not easy. If you have ever experienced a time when it seemed that you didn’t have one friend, you understand. Friends bring sunshine into our lives and make life enjoyable. Just as Solomon stated in our Scripture passage, being by yourself is HARD! It’s always easier to finish a task if we have someone to help us. When we are going through hard times, having a friend to encourage us is wonderful. They hold us up when we feel like we are falling. When we feel under attack, a friend will be there to help us fight and offer protection. When I was part of a Christian singing group affiliated with the Christian radio station my first husband worked at, the rule was, girls were to be escorted to their cars after dark. The station was in downtown Milwaukee and a not-so-good neighborhood. It was nice having someone to protect us or help us if we ever needed it. Friends give us a sense of belonging and a feeling that we are not in this life alone. Friends also help us when we are about to do something unwise. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)
God never intended for us to do life alone. He created us to be part of a group, whether it is a family, friends, or acquaintances. He also created us so that we could have a relationship with Him. He created us with a deep desire to be with others. He also created us with a God-shaped space in our hearts that could only be filled with Himself. The end of our Scripture passage talks about a three-stranded cord. It is good to have a friend to walk beside us, but what is better is to have that friend, plus Jesus, walking with us. Just as Solomon says two are better than one, three are much better! He says with three together, the cord cannot be broken. This passage is usually used in wedding ceremonies, but it can be applied to friendships as well. Us, our friend, and Jesus make a strong wall against the enemy.
When we and our friends join together in prayer over any situation, there is strength! With God in the equation, how can we help but win? That is one reason why the writer of Hebrews encourages us, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25 KJV) When we get together in worship and invite the Lord to join us, we find healing, strength, encouragement, and love. We can face whatever life throws at us. We can do a Spiritual battle against the enemy of our souls, together!
Much like the karate expert who can break a board with his hand, the more boards he adds, the more difficulty in breaking them. The more boards added, the stronger the boards are against his attack. It’s the same with friends and Jesus. If we’re by ourselves it can be easy for us to fall under attack and fail. It gets harder for the enemy to get to us when we have a friend who is helping us fight, but he still can defeat us. But when we ask Jesus to join us and help us in defeating Satan, then Satan loses. He has no defense against Jesus, and when we and our friend pray and ask for Jesus’ help, he trembles because he knows he can’t win.
Do you have a friend with whom you can stand together? Do you both know Jesus, and have you asked Him to stand with you? If not, I encourage you to find a good friend who will always stand with you, who loves God, and who is willing to pray with you whenever you need. You, your friend, and Jesus will be that strong cord that is not easily broken!