“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of
Christian friends by a good fire?”
Joanie and I just spent a week with some great friends. We didn’t sit around a good fire, but we sang together, told ‘God stories’ to each other and spent a substantial time encouraging each other.
And after hanging with them for five days I came away wiser than I was at the start of those days. (“He who walks with the wise grows wise …” Proverbs 13:20 NIV) It’s amazing how smart my friends are, especially when I listen to them and learn from them.
And knowing your friends really love you opens your spirit to challenges from them … to admonitions and even rebukes if necessary. They’re in your corner and are not flattering you for the moment but investing in you for the long haul. (“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted …” Proverbs 27:5,6 NIV)
A real friend doesn’t love you because you’re comely … they just love you. Their love isn’t dependent on what you have or don’t have … they just love you. They are not waiting for a good performance or perfection. They just love you.
– An acquaintance knows you on the surface … a friend knows you to your core.
– An acquaintance moves in and out of your life … a friend is there permanently.
– An acquaintance knows if you’re happy or sad by your look or voice … a friend just knows.
– An acquaintance can’t be bothered … a friend can’t ignore.
– An acquaintance will give you free time … a friend will give you all the time you need.
– An acquaintance hears your voice … a friend hears your heart.
– An acquaintance will let you do anything you want … a friend holds you responsible because they care.
– Acquaintances are a dime a dozen … a friend is worth all the money in the world.
Good friends are some of God’s greatest investments in our lives. But his greatest gift to us? “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NIV And I don’t need a good fire to find incredible joy in this friendship.
Friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine;
Oh what blessed sweet communion,
Jesus is a friend of mine.