Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

How to be a Good Christian Friend

JOB 2:7-13 – So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

THEME OF THE DAY: HOW TO BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN FRIEND. What would be the characteristics of a good Christian friend? Not an acquaintance we see once a week on the Lord’s Day and exchange pleasant greetings. Nothing wrong with those types of relationships. We are not going to develop close friendships with every believer in our lives. That is impossible, but we should be investing in and developing deep spiritual friendships with several believers for a few reasons. First, mutual encouragement – But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception (Hebrews 3:13). Next, mutual accountability – Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). And a third reason is for mutual spiritual growth – For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established (Romans 1:11).

So what would be the elements of being in such spiritual friendships? In today’s scripture, we find Job’s friends. Granted, they are going to reveal very quickly they are not true friends but before one gets out of Job chapter two, they offer to us four marks of a good spiritual friend. First, they responded to his situation – they heard of all this evil upon him and made an appointment to see Him. They were available. Job mattered to them. Next, they showed compassion for him – they raised their voices and wept. Here were true friends. They entered into his pain with hearts of sympathy. A third thing these friends did was sacrifice their time – they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights. Their lives were put on hold for the sake of their friend. They knew the call to friendship was a call to personal sacrifice. And finally, they were not quick to give advice, but quick to give listening ears – and no one spoke a word to him. Some of the best advice is unspoken. Just compassionate listening. Friends listen. Friends hear.

So, Christian friendships. Do we have them? Are they characterized by availability, compassion, sacrificial service, and willing ears to listen to our friends who need us? May God help us build strong Christian friendships.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to be a friend to Your people that sacrificially loves and serves them.”

QUOTE: “A true Christian friend is sacrificial to others, available for others, and carries their burdens.”

Because of Him,

Pastor Jim