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Friends – Sharpen Each Other

Ok, so I’ve got this friend Joey Smith (not sure why he doesn’t blog) who sends me emails from time to time that are encouraging and challenging. Here’s one he sent recently…

Henry Blackaby this morning. What kinda’ friends do you have? Any encouraging examples?

The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us are friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to “”keep going.””

According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David, and he encouraged him to follow God’s will, even though it meant Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1 Sam. 19:1-7).

The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “”sharpen”” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (Prov. 27:6).

Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose His closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Prov. 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.”

Joey, if you’re reading this, I consider you one of the friends this article describes. There are several others I could name too but since you sent the article I want you to know I appreciate your friendship.

Tom Haren, a home group pastor at NewSpring, responded to the email Joey sent with a story about his college buddy. I had a good buddy in college too, Joey Cochran (Ironic it’s another Joey). He stretched me to be a better person but I wasn’t a very receptive friend. I would justify my faults or failures by having selective interpretation of the Bible. One issue in particular was with porn. Joey knew about my porn problem and on occasion would remind me it is wrong and I shouldn’t do it. I would go to selective scriptures and interpret it how I felt like it to justify my problem (I was ignorant about a lot more things then). We disagreed at the time and remained friends. As far as I know he remained pure and he was always still my friend even though I continued sinning.

I can look back on that now and say he was a great friend. Now he lives in PA so I don’t see or hear from him much, but I’ll always consider him a great friend. I hope I can be a good friend like Joey to friends I have now so we can sharpen one another and continue growing in Christ together.

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