The Test of a True Friend

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly …”

— Proverbs 18:24

Think for a moment of the best friend you’ve ever had. What made that person such a great friend? What was it about that person that made you want to reciprocate friendship?

Good friends are hard to come by in our mobile, “rootless” society. With so much to do and so little time, many of us don’t invest what it takes to develop true friendships, instead settling for temporary “acquaintanceships.” But in doing so, we miss out on the richness that deep, abiding, and significant friendships bring to our lives.

Do you wish for more from your present relationships? To foster devotion, we must give of ourselves. This isn’t easy for most of us, but if we do it, we experience tremendous rewards. Every person who has ever engaged in a truly selfless friendship has found that in giving, personal horizons expand. These people discover that true happiness is found, not in comfort, but in sacrifice.

We in America balk at any type of sacrifice, avoiding anything that might result in the slightest discomfort. But the Bible says of Jesus that “for the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross despising the shame.” Because of Christ’s love for us, He endured the ultimate sacrifice. And when someone acts as a true friend in that way, we want to respond in kind, and we don’t experience it as a burden but as a joy.

A little girl walked down the street carrying a boy much too big for her to bear. An old man stopped and asked the little girl if the boy was too heavy for her, and she replied, “He’s not heavy; he’s my brother!” Is there a friend or a potentially new friend whom you can carry today? How can you give of yourself to someone who really needs you, someone you can care for with great joy in your heart? For as you give of yourself out of love—without complaint or irritation—you’ll discover genuine friendship.

“Life begins when you begin to serve.”