What About Your Friends?

photo taken over Afghanistan by a fellow veteran who is a former Black Hawk pilot

Amplified Bible.

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. Good people, good people! It's always a pleasure being with you! 

The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me a lot about Biblical friendship. Gonna podcast and YouTube about it.  And YES....the Spirit speaks directly to the church in Acts, in 1-2 Timothy (itching ears, etc) and in Rev (hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches), etc. 

I feel like I had to say that because I love my Lutherans and my other bros and sisters in the Lord, but y'all old money churches, Lutherans, y'all be trippin' sometimes when it comes to spiritual gifts, and the activity in the Holy Spirit in your lives. Yes, he works through the Word and Sacraments, but HE also works through the gifts HE has distributed to the church. But that's another podcast! This one is about friendship....so let's pray.

Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to do this podcast and this YouTube channel. I ask that as we discuss friendship, and what it should look like in your church, that you would enlighten us, and give us your gifts of wisdom, and discernment. In fact, I pray Isaiah 11 verse 2 over all who would watch or listen to this show, that Isaiah 11:2

English Standard Version

2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,

    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

    the Spirit of counsel and might,

    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

I work part-time for a Veterans Affairs Hospital as a chaplain assistant which I'm extremely grateful for! So while I'm here helping out the chaplains, I attend a Bible study on Wednesday nights. We are going through the entire book of Proverbs, line by line, but arranged by topics. Well, the topic last night was on friendship, and it hit me hard, because I'm going through things concerning who I call my friends, and defining relationships, boundaries, etc. The first thing that came to mind for me was this passage in 1 Timothy: 

1 Timothy 5:1-2

English Standard Version

Instructions for the Church

5 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 

Wow. That's great advice. Treat older men like fathers, younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, and younger women like sisters, in all purity. You know, that kills a lot of the theology I see now in some churches, where some 30 year old dude claims to be an apostle or a spiritual father. Man that's just crazy! But I want to highlight the instructions for younger men and women. They are to be treated like brothers and sisters. Well what's the glue that holds natural brothers and sisters together? It's love, man! Love and respect go together, it's impossible to separate the two! Man I can argue with my natural siblings all day, but at the end of the day, we will always squash our beefs. Why? Because we're family! But in the body of Christ, sometimes I feel like it's hit or me if brothers and sisters truly wanna fellowship or not. It's just like...man, just be cool. If we're cool, then we're cool. Why all the extra drama and stress? We don't need it! Life is already hard enough. The church should be where we can go to exhale, relax, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that people have our backs. Lately, I've just been going through some things in that area. Let's look at some of these verses: 

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

A friend loves at ALL times! A brother (or a sister) is born for adversity. It's like maaaan, I'm soooo loyal, y'all. I'm loyal to a fault. I think it's how I grew up, fatherless and in a dsyfunctional family, but then I learned comradery in the military. We are loyal to each other. We come from different cities, countries, etc., but at the end of the day, when bullets are flying, we come together. Why? Because we see the bigger picture. Luther said this: For we are so corrupted by original sin that [by ourselves] we are unable to discern the magnitude of our sin. For our flesh, the devil, and the world are at hand, who persuade us otherwise and obscure the Law of God written on our minds [cf. Rom. 2:15] https://blog.cph.org/study/luthers-disputations-on-theses-surrounding-law-and-sin.

We come together because there is a BIGGER picture! There is a LARGER story. We wrestle not against flesh and blood....Ephesians 6. My battle is not against my brother, or my sister. My battle is against the Enemy of Our Souls. The devil wants us divided, throwing shade at each other, being deceptive, being in the dark, in the shadows, etc. But Christ said that the things we do in secret will come to light.  

Proverbs 18:24

The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].

Proverbs 27:9

Oil and perfume make the heart glad; So does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart.