“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV).
We are all influenced by the company that we keep. If your friends like to smoke and drink, you probably will too. If they enjoy mission work and Bible study, you probably will too. Proverbs 27:17 teaches of the benefits of good friends, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” The Apostle Paul warns of the perils of friends of low character. “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Men tend to forge on alone when times are tough, but we all need friends in our foxholes to help us in tough times. For this to happen we need good relationships to develop good friends. Good relationships don’t happen by accident. They take cultivation, work, and a lot of time. That requires commitment.
If you have the honor of being married, I hope your wife is your best friend. In addition, men need other men in their lives. In the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, he writes, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” Men are warriors at heart, and there is strength in numbers. Strong warriors that are seeking God’s face will have the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) to protect them in battle.
So, how do we form close relationships? Every important, close connection begins with a commitment. If you want to get beyond shallow, superficial relationships, you’ve got to be willing to stick with it. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Close friends are like brothers. They are dependable in good times and bad. They build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 6:18).
Likewise, how do we avoid the trap of having acquaintances and not close friends? Did you know that your socializing can keep you from having deep relationships? You can be so busy networking, contacting, and making acquaintances that you never invest the time and energy and effort it takes to cultivate the deep, satisfying intimacy of a good friend or a good spouse.
It’s not wrong to have a lot of acquaintances, but they can keep you so busy that you don’t develop any vital, close relationships. You don’t need a lot of friends to make it in this world, but you do need a few good ones. Focus on quality, not quantity. Your acquaintances—your hundreds of Facebook “friends” and Instagram followers—aren’t necessarily going to be there when you need them. But the friends you are truly connected and committed to will be there and stick closer than a brother. Your close friends will always be there when you have reached the end of your rope and before.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for the blessing of having Godly men in our lives. Please use them to speak truth to us and may be always be receptive to the truth. Amen.
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com and todd-shupe.com.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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