Friends are Family

My friend called me from her vacation the other day and said, “You have GOT to get these sandals!” By the time we hung up, I had a pair ordered and on the way. (By the way, the name of the sandals is OOFOS Oolala flip-flops.) We have shopped together many times, and she knows what I like: comfort, mostly, but she said these were also good for my feet. According to the five-star reviews, she was making a great recommendation.

I’m not selling shoes, and I will not get a kickback from recommending these kicks. (By the way, that’s millennial-speak for shoes.) The point is this: She took a break from her vacation to let me know she had found something wonderful she wanted to share with me. I knew I could trust her recommendation without hesitation. She knows me and knows what I like. I know her and know her advice is solid. Friends and friendship are a special blessing from God. I’m glad he created us to need and enjoy other people, especially people who know how to shop!

Proverbs 27:9 says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” We all spend a lot of time enjoying the “stuff” of life, but I think God would tell us to put a lot of effort into enjoying our friends. Those relationships are sweet, and close friends are rare. It’s easy to take friends for granted, but Scripture would tell us to invest at least as much time in our friends as we do looking for the other “stuff” in this world.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Some people get to live near their brothers and sisters, and their family members are often their best friends. Most people now live in separate cities, lead separate lives, and find that their friends are often closer than family. Maybe that is why the Lord defined our relationships with fellow Christians as “brothers and sisters.” Spiritually, friends are also our family. We are related by the spiritual DNA we each received from accepting Jesus as Lord. All of us belong to a large family of faith. But, among that family there will be a few special people we also call our friends.

Hebrews 10:24–25 instructs us to make friendships that will strengthen our Christian character. Those verses say: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Good friends will help us become better people. A friend might say, “You look good in that color,” but a good friend will say, “That color is good, but I don’t like the way that is fitting you.” Good friends tell the whole truth because the whole truth will help you make better choices. A friend might agree with you any time you need them to. A good friend will sometimes hold you to a higher standard, and therefore help you live more like God would intend. Friends make this life a little better, but good friends will strengthen our eternal lives as well. “The Day” is drawing near, and it will be a unique privilege to share eternity with good friends who have become our family.

Jesus wanted to be our Lord and Savior and gave his life so that we could be with him in heaven. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). But then Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). As we think about our closest friends, we should make certain to count Jesus among them. Maybe that is why God created us with a desire for friendship and community. God wanted us to understand that aspect of the relationship he wanted to share with us.

Jesus is Savior and Lord, but he is also the best friend we will ever have. May the sweetness of his counsel be part of our lives each day. May we live aware of his presence as he sticks closer than a brother throughout the day. May Jesus stir us up to love and do good works, and may we serve him as our friend as well as our master.

I’m grateful that God called us to be a friend and to have friends. Life is sweeter now and eternally as a result. And my feet are happy too! Those sandals are AMAZING. I’m pretty sure my mansion in glory will have a closet full of OOFOS flip-flops!