“A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Recently I felt a bit isolated, experiencing the loneliness of ‘a widow and orphan’ a wee bit, although I am not an orphan (my son has left home for university… does that count?).
The necessity for friendship is so embedded in our human make-up that it is impossible to ignore its benefits and our frailty without it.
I love Proverbs 18. Reading the entire chapter before coming to this final verse, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” reveals the confidence of man and his/her frailty, so that when we come to verse 24, we see how valuable friendship is to our existence. How to win friendship is to be friendly oneself it reads.
But there is a type of friendship which goes beyond company and the passing of the years. It is a kind of brotherhood.
David and Jonathan: a beautiful example of friendship
When we look at the relationship between David and Jonathan, we see deep and lasting friendship. Mutual trust, respect, loyalty, love and a broken heart for the difficulties of the other — these are the traits which Jonathan personifies toward David and to which David faithfully responds (read the story of this friendship in 1 Samuel, chapters 18-23) In fact, years after Jonathan’s death, out of loyalty to his friend, David asks,
“Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1) There is! And when that person is found, David looks after him without limit or end.
Self inflicted loneliness
We who are in Christ may from time to time feel lonely, even when we are in fellowship within the body of Christ. Personally, I feel lonely when the house feels empty and quiet, with no one to talk to.
But mine is a kind of self inflicted discomfort, because I have a friend closer than a brother or sister, which I can choose to draw toward or not. That friend is Holy Spirit.
Yes, sometimes we need human companionship. But how much do we need it when we’ve spent time with Holy Spirit?
Time well spent
As the effects of Covid lock-down wear off, as I become busy once again, I realise the quality time I am spending sitting with the LORD has shrunk. It is time with Him that I most need to spend, if I am to feel fulfilled and replenished. Time with Holy Spirit not only brings anointing and a sense of intimacy with GOD; it is also a time when we can reflect and share our hearts with Him.
Personally, a sharing of the Heart — both in giving and in receiving — is the core aspect of friendship I most need. I can run around busily and denying my need. Or I can run to, sit with, and share with Holy Spirit.
Time with Holy Spirit satisfies our need for intimacy
People are a blessing and we need folk in our lives. But when we feel most lonely, we can abide with Jesus through Holy Spirit and know we have the truest of friends who is closer than any brother, sister, relative or friend.
Abiding — being deep with Holy Spirit
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)
There are many ways to explore abiding, but in this instance, simply put, abiding brings fruit and that fruit includes a sense of warm companionship essential for the thriving spirit within us all.
May we all experience the simple reality that GOD is with us and fulfils our every need, even — and especially — a need for friendship.