Friendships, especially close ones, are what each of us desires in our lives. When we find a friend, who knows everything about us and still loves us just as we are and loves God, that is a treasure! Our Scripture today is Proverbs 27:9, “Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel. (CSB) The ESV says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”
A good friend has our best interest at heart. They want to see us succeed in everything we do. They stand with us in our corner and cheer us on. They also give us wise counsel. When we have hard decisions to make and need someone to bounce ideas off of or ask their opinion, they will give us sound advice and answer truthfully, even if it is something we don’t want to hear. They love us and want us to be what God has created us to be.
A good friend will encourage us to step out and do something new, or to keep going in the direction we are going until we succeed. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV) He was encouraging them to continue to stand together and support each other as they walked out their faith. It is so important to have Christian friends because they can help us with sound, Biblical encouragement when we run into difficult times. They understand, better than friends who are not Believers, how hard it can be to live in a fallen world like we do today.
The writer of Hebrews encouraged the Jewish Christians, “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB 1995) As friends, we are to stimulate each other to walk in the ways of God. A hug, a pat on the back, a good word of wisdom, all go a long way in helping our friends stay the course, remain firmly planted in God’s Word, and walk the pathway He has planned for them.
We need to seek out friends who are just like that! We are to be discerning in who we keep as friends. When we have found them, hang on to them because they will be a treasure to us. Good friends like that are rare!
We are also to be the same kind of friends. We must exhibit the characteristics of Christ in showing love to our friends. When we allow Jesus to shine through us, then we have the same attitude He has and we treat our friends like He would treat them, with love and encouragement, giving wise counsel when they ask.
If you have a friend who has the best in mind for you, gives you sound, Biblical advice, and reveals things to you that you may not want to hear, but need to hear, then consider yourself blessed! You have a sweet friendship!