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The rare jewel of Christian friendship – part 1: Friendship Imposters

The Rare Jewel of Christian Friendship* Part 1: Friendship Imposters June 5, 2015

“I have no one else like him.” ~ Philippians 2:20

Before selecting the title for this article, I had thought to call it “Regaining the Lost Art of Friendship”. Since so many, I am convinced, have little, if any, experience with the friendship that I am proposing as real, true and actual friendship, the idea that it has been lost might be lost on most. Indeed, much has been lost but since it has been lost for so long, many have gone along with ideas of friendship that, when compared to the friendship I am proposing, fall far short, and are in fact, imposters.

The purpose of this article is to stimulate desire and appetite for real friendship as we study the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, The Bible, God’s Word. I pray that, in this, God will expose in our lives fraudulent, poor excuses for friendship that we unwittingly (or all too willingly) substitute for it such that we do not sense our need for actual friendship. It’s no wonder, since these substitutes are not as costly in time and in thought. Would that He prepare us to hold the value of this pursuit in our minds! It is necessary and important to be aware at the outset that pain, suffering, and great effort are prerequisites for obtaining this rare jewel, lest we be frightened away at the first prospect, objection, or opposition that we might face when we attempt to take hold of real Christian friendship.

“Prepare your mind for action.” ~ 1 Peter 1:13

Some questions and thoughts to consider: What is wrong with the conventional wisdom on friendship in the 21st century? What are possible motives for pursuing friendship? How do these motives rank as starting points toward real friendship as the end point? Where do motives lead to, if not to true friendship? Who are true friends? Is real friendship possible? Is it worth the effort? Why should we bother to learn about friendship, and why must it be “Christian”? What will we get out of it after learning and applying Christian friendship? Is that even the right question? Is it optional? Do we really need it? Can’t we live just as well without it? What a lot of effort to be put in with the risk of it being unrequited so large. What great pains to be experienced! Who can practice this? Who would want to? Must friendship be returned for it to do any good? Is it possible to be a friend to someone who is not a friend to you? Who has the authority to define Christian friendship? What transformations can we expect when we pursue it? What temptations will we encounter when we seriously embrace it? What rewards are in store for those who master it?

“I have called you ‘friends’.” ~ John 15:15

* This title was inspired by the gem of a book by Puritan, Jeremiah Burroughs, entitled: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment


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