Friendship is one of the greatest gifts to humanity and there is something very special about relationships, especially those that have stood the test of time and offer richness to our lives. Interestingly, sometimes family can be our most treasured friends and sometimes friends can be our closest family. This closeness is one of the upsides of relationships and because of that, friendships should be celebrated and treasured.
There are myriad of verses in the Bible on the topic of friendship. Some of these are warnings about how companions will impact behavior, such as Paul’s words to the Corinthians when he cautioned, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character,” (I Cor. 15:33). However, many of them are about the value of godly friendships in the life of a follower of Christ and the benefits of godly companions. To that end, I want to share some wisdom from the scriptures on some of the most critical relationships in our lives, our friendships.
In This Article:
- Two Are Better Than One
- Godly Friendships Lighten Our Loads
- Godly Friendships Lift Us Up
- Godly Friendships Leave Us Warm and Protected
- God is in The Midst of Godly Friendships
Two Are Better Than One
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is one of the most well-known verses on the power, literally, of a friend. It reads:
— Ecclesiastes 4:9-1
In these verses, the wise King Solomon reveals a few nuggets about the value of godly friends in enriching one’s life as well as providing encouragement and protection. These assets warrant a closer look:
Godly Friendships Lighten Our Loads
The first gift of godly friendship is expressed in this verse: “Two are better than one, because they will have a good reward for their toil,” (Ecc. 4: 9). Somethings cannot be lifted alone. Consider trying to move a couch, a large box or a heavy burden. These are difficult to wield by oneself and having someone on the other end brings good reward for the work. In fact, Paul tells us that friends should carry burdens for each other in Galatians 6, which reads, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” (Gal. 6:2, ESV).
It must be noted in Galatians 6, that while Paul directs friends to carry each other’s burdens, each person must carry his own load (see Gal. 6:5). There is a difference between enabling unhealthy behavior and helping healthy behavior. Legitimate help is to do for someone that they cannot do for themselves. Enabling is to do for someone that which they could and should do for themselves. Helping is rewarding for both parties involved, while enabling cripples’ both people and relationships. Letting God lead in making friends and helping others is essential. Help on the journey is an excellent contribution of godly friendships.
Godly Friendships Lift Us Up
In verse 10 Solomon continues, “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!” (Ecc. 4: 10). In the physical sense, some falls are hard, some climbs are steep, and everyone needs help getting up at one time or another. Whether it is being lifted when one has fallen or boosted up when one is climbing higher, the hand of a friend is a welcome sight.
It is also critical to remember that words have power too. Kind and comforting words lift heavy hearts. Words of affirmation and encouragement inspire action. Challenging and correcting words impart wisdom. All these expressions can work to help a friend rise after a fall, whether emotional, physical or spiritual. A hand up on the journey is an empowering gift of godly friendship.
Godly Friendships Leave Us Warm and Protected
King Solomon addresses a third provision of godly friendships: warmth and protection. He writes, “Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him," (Ecc. 4: 11-12). It is rarely good to go alone. There is strength in numbers. Godly friendships warm our hearts and have our backs. Sharing warmth is a protection against strong winds, both spiritually and physically, and a godly friend will block that wind.
When the weight of the world and the wounds of the enemy are unbearable, the warm presence of others reminds us that we do not, and should not, do life alone. Good friends hold hearts and hands as they watch out for one another. The presence of others on the journey is a precious provision of godly friendship.
God is in The Midst of Godly Friendships
King Solomon ends this set of verses with a reminder of who stands with those who stand together. He writes, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken,” (Ecc. 4: 12). One might think he is talking about being with more than one friend, and he is. However, that friend is the friend who sticks closer than a brother (see Prov. 18:24), never leaves or forsakes (see Heb. 13:5), and gives his very life for us (see John 3:16, 15:13). These verses speak of Jesus, God the son, and remind us that our greatest friend is God. When God is in the friendship, the relationship is not easily broken and when trials do come, restoration is available as well. Godly friendships ensure us that God is with us.
Take a moment to thank God for the godly friends he has given you. Pray for them and tell them how much they mean to you. Godly friendships should be celebrated and treasured.
If you are interested in reading more Theology Thursday blogs or exploring ministry and theology degrees at Grand Canyon University, fill out the form on this page. Check out other degree programs and visit GCU’s College of Theology to learn more.
Approved by Faculty for the College of Theology on Oct. 31, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.