One of the greatest blessings anyone can have in their life is a good friend. Euripides said, “One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.” If you have one great friend, consider yourself truly blessed!
When I survey my life, most of the really good things have had godly friends connected with them. My devotional life was motivated greatly by my brother. My prayer life was encouraged by my Youth Pastor. My faith was encouraged and stretched by friends in college. The list could go on and on…. Godly friends are one of the greatest blessings in my life. This is why Proverbs 27:17 says, “iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” A godly, right friend will make you more Christlike, and will encourage you to be close to the Lord.
Just as a good friend can persuade you to godliness, an unholy friend can lead you down a path of destruction. Such was the case of Amnon.
Amnon wanted to have his half sister Tamar sexually, but he knew this was wrong. He struggled with his desire’s day by day, and week by week. The battle was very real in his life, and he was vexed. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He wanted Tamar, but he knew it was wrong. The Bible says, “he thought it hard”, Amnon was unwilling to act on his sinful desires.
You have sinful desires in your life. James 1:14 – “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” You have temptations that are unique to your “lust” and desires. What tempts one person might not tempt another, but we are all tempted by sin. Just because you have a desire to do something doesn’t mean that desire came from God. Read that again… JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A DESIRE TO DO SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN THAT DESIRE CAME FROM GOD. Far too many today want to say that temptation comes from God. The Bible clearly states in James 1:13 – “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” A man who “loves” another woman besides his wife (really he lust her) should not abandon his wife and go with that woman. God didn’t put that desire there… it is sin. Just because you have desires for the opposite gender doesn’t mean God put those desires there… it is sin. Just because you feel good using some substance, doesn’t mean God approves of its use. Amnon was tempted by incest, and it was wrong. He knew it was wrong, and was fighting those desires.
Along came a bad friend. Jonadab appears to be a genuinely concerned and caring friend at first glance. He asks why Amnon is lean and distressed. Jonadab offers Amnon fatal advice. He gives Amnon a “full proof” plan to rape his sister. By the time Amnon performs the heinous deed, he seems beyond reason and has completely given in to his sick fantasy. He was placed on this path by his “friend”.
In the end, Amnon hated Tamar, and was killed by his half-brother Absalom. What a vivid reality that sin has consequences. James 1:15 – “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Sinful friends will lead to future failure.
I don’t know who your friends are, but can I give you a word of encouragement and a warning?
The warning is this, be careful who you allow to be your friend; those whom you open yourself up to their influence. Proverbs 27:6 says “…the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” A bad friend may appear to be a good friend, but those kisses are deceitful. A friend who leads you away from the Lord, is not a friend to be had. A friend who encourages you to do wrong, and discourages you from being holy is not a friend.
You may think you can “help” them and bring them up, but it rarely works that way. You can influence people toward Christ without being best buddies with them. My experience has shown that sinful friends drag down much easier and faster than righteous friends bring up.
The encouragement is this, GET GODLY FRIENDS. Friends are some of the greatest blessings you will ever have in your life, so get some. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times…”. Godly friends are like iron that sharpens your iron and makes you better. They love you with Christlike agape love.
You might be thinking, “I want friends like that”. So here is the secret to getting godly friends. You ready… here is the secret sauce: Be a godly friend. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:…” You want godly friends, be a godly friend. Find people at church who love the Lord, and be their friend. This is how godly friendships are forged and maintained.
Today, be the right kind of friend, and have the right kind of friends.
Daily Scripture Reading
2 Samuel 13 - 15
2 Samuel 15:6
“And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”