The old proverb says
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (Prov. 27:17).
As always, the Bible is spot on! My wife and I spent last weekend with the three other married couples who are involved in The Light Network. Several months ago, we decided to take a weekend to make plans for our work in the coming year, Lord willing. The team works well together, so I knew we would be super productive. I also knew we would benefit from just relaxing and hanging out together.
As I take a few minutes to think about what I’ve learned and how I’ve benefited from the weekend, I can’t help but think about the major advantages of having good, Christian friends. Here are three:
[highlight]Christian friends remind me that I am not alone in my faith.[/highlight] We all know that it’s really hard to stand up for your convictions – especially when they counter culture to the extent that so many biblical teachings do. In a world where groups such as the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation sue everyone who dares to show their religion in a public way, and in a world where alleged scientists claim that evolution is the only stance on human origins for anyone with common sense, in a world where atheism is among the fastest growing movements in the United States, it is ever so easy to feel lonely as a Christian. Godly friends who are unified in the faith help us to effectively accomplish Jude’s command to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3).
[highlight]Christian friends remind me that I am not alone in my fight with sin.[/highlight] It’s not that the thought of my friends messing up brings me comfort. It’s knowing that their struggles are similar – if not identical – to mine. They can relate to my shortcomings because they are in the trenches, fighting the Christian’s battle every day just like I am. It’s only natural, then, that we share our triumphs and our tears; that we praise one another and pray for one another, all while thanking God and glorifying our Father that we can partake in Christ’s sufferings (1 Pet. 4:16; cf. 2 Tim. 1:8).
[highlight]Christian friends remind me that I am not alone in my family values.[/highlight] Some people (including Christian people) just don’t understand why Emily and I would choose to closely follow the biblical plan for the home. You know the one: where the man is the head of the house and the wife is the keeper of the home. They don’t understand why our family time (even though it’s just the two of us) is so important. They don’t get why we would choose to spend “time off” doing church work. For whatever reason, this is often the case especially for preachers and their families. My Christian friends get it. They’re trying to live it, too. They help me not to give up or to conform to society’s view of “marriage.” They are godly husbands and godly wives. They’re happy and content. They’re excited about their homes – and it’s contagious. They are proof that God’s way is best.
These three reasons affirm the positive truth to the negative warning given in 1 Corinthians 15:33:
Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.
I’m thankful for Torrey & Alexandra Clark, Chris & Melissa Clevenger, and Brad & Brooke McNutt. I’m thankful for my best friend, Emily, and the encouragement she constantly gives to me. Each of these (and others whom I could mention) challenge my thinking, encouragement me to live better, and excite me for heaven, where we will never have to pack up and go our separate ways.
Question: What are some other advantages of Christian friendships? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.