This week, the President of Ukraine boldly reminded the leadership of the United States of a powerful principle: in times of war, you need friends to have your back. No country and no individual can withstand every attack.
There’s a spiritual lesson in this moment that we shouldn’t overlook.
Over the past couple of years, many people lost track of friends and went about living their social and spiritual life alone. While some were isolated due to medical necessity, others still remain disengaged from church, work, or other community activities that were a source of connection and friendship for them.
Sadly, many people find themselves alone at this moment without any friends around.
The truth is that we need wise friends. God didn’t intend for us to go through life on our own, and wise friends make a major difference in how we respond to trials. God created friendship as the solution to our loneliness and a necessary source of wisdom when we need it.
In fact, God himself is a faithful friend in our time of need, but God doesn’t instruct us to live our life without other quality friendships. Through wise friendships, we experience the love and wisdom of God.
I often ask individuals who come to my counseling office, “What advice have your wise friends given you regarding their struggle?” Oftentimes, I get a somewhat confused look as they realize they don’t have an answer.
Many don’t have a wise friend they feel like they can turn to. Others have distanced themselves from wise friends, fearing the embarrassment of admitting a persistent struggle. Without wise friends, we are at a major disadvantage when it comes to making the right choices.
Here are four reasons why we need to make these quality friendships a priority.
Reason #1 – Wise friends guide us.
The principle described in Proverbs 20:18 is vividly being played out before our very eyes right now – “Plans are established by Counsel, by wise guidance wage war.” Before any country commits to fighting a war, it needs to count the cost. We should pray for our leaders as they make life and death decisions that will impact many across the world.
Thankfully, most of our decisions don’t have life or death consequences, but they still will have a major impact on the course of our life. Choosing to get married, stay married, or end marriage all have significant consequences. An imbalance in work, substances, or leisure time leads to major struggles that cause significant pain to reverse.
When it comes to the major decisions of life, some people choose to go at it alone but often fail. Wise people seek input and guidance before moving ahead.
Reason #2 – Wise friends teach us.
Proverbs 20:29 reminds us that the gray hair of wisdom is just as valuable as the strength of one’s youth: “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
When it comes to friendships, we can benefit from the wisdom of different perspectives, whether that comes through age, ethnicity, or life experience. In a world full of influencers seeking to peddle shallow philosophies that appeal to the masses, we need to seek the treasure of wisdom.
Reason #3 – Wise friends protect us.
In Proverbs 13:20, we’re reminded that “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” As a teen, I was in the car when my childhood friend decided to drive his family’s Volvo station wagon as fast as it could go – we chickened out at about 140 mph. It was dumb and dangerous. This is why teenage boys don’t rule the world!
We need wise friends who speak the truth to us about our own dumb and dangerous ideas. In pride, we can think about ourselves as immune to foolish choices, but that mindset itself is on shaky ground. If we don’t walk with wise friends, we will too often fall.
Reason #4 – Wise friends mature us.
Proverbs 18:24 says “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” While Jesus certainly can be a close/perfect friend to us, He modeled for us the encouragement of having earthly friends who walked with Him. He was closest with a few, while still living among the masses.
Having a close friend, who will walk with us through the trials of life, is a huge asset. Proverbs is reminding us to pursue friendships where we are known deeply and loved deeply, with an enduring commitment to stick it out.
Truthfully, we will only have this kind of friendship if we choose to be this kind of friend because these relationships are formed over many years. When you find this type of friend, cherish it and grow it for your good and theirs.
Perhaps you are reading this with a bit of loneliness and a bit of longing. I challenge you to take a step towards re-engaging your existing friendships or beginning a pursuit of new ones.
We all need friendships to make it through this difficult life. God didn’t intend for us to go at it alone.
Perhaps you feel like your friends have left you behind, and perhaps they are sitting alone wondering the same thing. Reach out, give them a call, or send them a message. Let them know you have forgotten and that coffee would be great.
Life is too short to keep going it alone.