As travelers through life, God never intended that we make our journey alone. There are simply too many obstacles and challenges to navigate without the help and assistance of others. Plus, life is simply too grand not to have someone to share the joy and wonder of it all with!
Fellowship with others is one of the great blessings of life, and to have a friend is not just a good idea, it is really God’s idea for us. God Himself is called the Friend of sinners. That’s who we are—imperfect people in need of both a Saviour and a friend.
God’s desire to be our friend is so strong that He was willing to die on the cross for us to make provision for the forgiveness of our sins and to restore a lost fellowship with Him that our sins created. The simple gospel story is that God became a perfect man and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and stands as the substitute for those who receive His provision by faith. By trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour, we are saved and gain an abiding friend in Jesus.
The Lord knows there is value in earthly friendship, as well as fellowship. One place in the Bible where God tells us why having a good friend is important is in Ecclesiastes. There, we are told something simple but very profound: two are better than one. The reason given is that we gain something together that cannot be had alone.
Three reasons two are better than one are specifically mentioned:
1. When One Falls down There Is Someone to Lift Him Up
More often than we like to admit, we do fall down in life. There are times when we fail, we get discouraged, and we mess up. What a blessing it is when a good and godly friend is there to lift us up, dust us off, and encourage us with supportive words. The truth is many people don’t have friends like that, and they are poorer for it.
2. When One Is Vulnerable Another Is There to Make Him Stronger
A real concern in the ancient world was the threat of cold and the peril of traveling alone. During extremely cold weather, body heat could often make the difference between life and death.
The principle and application though have to do with vulnerability. Alone, we are in a more precarious condition without the help and support of another. Vulnerability comes when we are weak and tired, alone without accountability, and tempted by things that hold the potential to hurt us. But, a friend who stands with us can help us when we are weak, can provide the accountability and counsel we need to make better decisions, and is there to help us stand against the threatening things of life.
3. Two People Have the Ability to Protect Each Other Against the Dangers of Life Better Than a Person Does Alone
When in a battle, it is a blessing to know someone has our back. The same is true when we navigate the battles of life. Having someone who is there, who will stand with us, fight for us, and be there for us in our time of need is a blessing beyond measure.
These are just a few of the biblical reasons for the value in friendship and why I believe it is so important to be a part of a church family. In a good church, you will find the kind of friends that will be there for you as you navigate the blessings and difficulties of life; someone to stand beside you in good times and bad, during both your triumphs and your trials—people who will tell you the things you need to hear, not just the things you might want to hear.
A real friend isn’t just a companion but someone who helps us become a better person. That is the kind of friend Jesus Christ wants to be for us, and the kind of friend He intends for us to be to one another.