Friends:The Chief Happiness in Life?
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
“Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say, “Sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends. I know I am very fortunate in that respect; so penned C.S. Lewis in a letter to a friend. But do not confuse his advice as it relates to what kind of friends may come to your mind. Lewis also said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are. He wrote quite a bit about the value and the meaning of friends, because it was so precious to him. He did not marry until late in life, and then but for a brief time, though a time and relationship of great joy. Friends, like the wife he loved in brief marriage, and those male friends before, do not come in great numbers. This side of eternity there is but time for a small number of friends who are “soul mate travelers in traversing successfully a most weighty (a “weight of glory), yet treacherous pilgrimage of life.
Yet there are those who have never experienced such a friend, even though they are or have been married. Friendship of this quality with a spouse is “worth far more than rubies. (Proverbs 31:10) But God’s revelation speaks also of the friendship we have with those where romance and the love of lovers is not its nature, but as Lewis describes, “We picture lovers face to face but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead. In Lewis’ The Four Loves, you can study in detail the different “loves that characterize friendship in marriage versus a friend of the same gender, often not even a relative; like Jonathan and David, or possibly Mary, Joanna, and Mary (Luke 24:10).
We are all in need of such a friend, or if so blessed, friends. A word study of “friend(s) in the Bible will lay before you a diversity of “friends, some of whom are a snare, and others who are of precious value. If we do not enjoy the treasure of a mutually wise and spiritually beneficial fellow traveler or travelers, we need to be in the business of earnestly asking our Father in heaven. “We have not because we ask not. Consider Lewis again, “For a Christian there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to his disciples, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, can truly say to every pair, or group, of Christian friends, “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.
This present culture is certainly not an incubator for such friendships or the valuing of them. The frenetic pace of 21st century living is the enemy of those friendships which cultivate holiness and a hunger for godliness. It is easier to succumb to the entertainment of technology than to “sacrifice time to discussing the deep things of this life and of eternity, while encouraging a mutual pursuit. “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. (Malachi 3:16) It may well be “easier, as falling off a mountain is easier than climbing one; but it is never, ever as satisfying or as rewarding.
“Abba Father, give me a friend or friends who have my righteousness and eternity in their heart as I do theirs.
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