I really miss watching Bob Ross on television. Besides being one super artist, he was fun to watch and listen to. He’d talk about “friendly” clouds, trees, streams…he was one of the most “friendly” guys ever to be on the tube.
That’s why I used his “likeness” when I decided to write about “friends”.
Friends. Not just Facebook kind of friends, mere “followers” or acquaintances, but friends.
Friends. The dictionary defines “friend” as “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. Another definition says, “a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another”.
Friends. One of the most valuable “things” a person can have. A person could have all the money, power, land in the world; in fact, they could even own the moon. But without a friend, who can they share it with? Who can they trust?
The Word of God has much to say about friends. Who would know better than God? After all, He created the heavens and the earth. Everything seen and unseen was created by Him and for Him. But after 5 days, He wasn’t satisfied. He had no one to share His handiwork with. Pigeons and elephants were great, fish were wonderful, and birds were something else!
But the animal kingdom couldn’t attach themselves to Him by affection or esteem. Not like someone created in His image. So He made man, His best forever friend.
Studying the friendship between God and Adam should give us some advice about how friends should treat one another.
For instance, God gave Adam free reign of the garden, with one exception. One tree. A friend will have boundaries and a true friend will respect them. Manipulating your “friend”, making them feel bad or coercing them, because they have something you want but can’t get, is violating your friendship. God never laid a guilt trip on Adam, even though He told Adam some tough things.
God allowed Adam to be involved in God’s business. He let Adam set up the garden, name the animals, and look for a friend he could connect with. I think Adam and God talked about this issue, with the discussion sounding something like this:
Adam: “God, You’ve really created quite a world. Everything is neat and orderly, so majestic and beautiful. You’re quite good, you know. All these friendly trees, and birds, and animals, and…”
God: “But you’re not happy, are you, Adam?”
Adam: “No, really God…”
God: “Adam, I can tell. All these things are wonderful to see, but you need something more. I know you, Adam. You’re too much like Me to want to live life without a friend.”
Adam: “Yes, Lord, You’re absolutely right. I need someone besides You, no offense, God; but I need someone else I can attach myself to.”
God: “I tell you what I’ll do. If you’ll show yourself friendly, I’ll make you a forever friend. Give of yourself and see. Release part of yourself, just a rib will do. Give and it will be given to you, pressed and formed together. Something that will capture your heart, mind, and body.”
Well, Adam agreed and the rest is history.
The Word says, “He who desires friends, must show himself friendly.”
Real friends stick together, through thick and thin. Loyal to one another, despite the peril one may be facing. Could this be why Adam ate of the tree, after seeing Eve succumb to the slimy words of the serpent? Did Adam watch Eve change from life to death and decide to stay with her? Is that why he ate the fruit? Just wondering out loud.
Friends aren’t afraid of the advice a friend gives them. Trust is the reason why. Friends confide in each other. Yes, because of trust.
Friends would rather take a beating, than give up on a friend. A true friend will even, if necessary, give their life so a friend can live. Friend, I’m not just referring to Jesus!
Friends guard what they say about their friends, and defend the honor and reputation of their friends when necessary. The words they speak to and about their friends are healing, uplifting, guarding, and redemptive words.
As with the paralytic and his 4 friends mentioned in Luke chapter 5, friends grab hold of their friend’s need or problem. They work in harmony with other friends to help their friend rise up from their problems to live a life of joy and productivity.
Of course, I’ve described Jesus ministry as a Friend to the world, to you, to me.
But the Lord has made it clear, “You are My friends if you do what I’ve told you to do.”
What did He tell us to do? To “follow in His steps.” In other words, do likewise. “As He is, so are we in this world.”
Be a friend indeed.