Three Types of Friends
“No man is an island” is not just another cliché saying; it is a principle that we can find throughout the Scripture. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7). Who we become can be determined by the books we read, the music we hear and the people we give the power to surround us and speak into our lives.
In Proverbs 13:20, Solomon observed, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” Paul also warned the Corinthians, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Consider the following types of friends I think we need in our lives:
Barnabas, the “Son of Encouragement,” was a prominent early church leader who had an impact on the ministry of Paul. When Paul arrived in Jerusalem after he was converted, the followers of Jesus were afraid of him, making his first attempt to join them a failure. Nevertheless, Barnabas helped Paul by taking him to the apostles and persuading them about the validity of his conversion.
When the church in Antioch started to grow tremendously, Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Paul. When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch to disciple the people for a year. Barnabas undoubtedly believed that Paul could accomplish the calling of God on his life. He had enough faith in him and his encouragement became a pathway for Paul to launch his ministry.
We need a Barnabas in our life. We need encouragers who will cheer us up when others are trying to belittle what we are doing for God or trying to bring up our past. Mark Twain advised, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Oh, what strength our friends can give if we know they are around to encourage us!
Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the outer robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, [along] with his armor, including his sword, his bow, and his belt (I Samuel 18:3–4, AMP).
David “was accepted in the sight of all the people” (I Samuel 18:5a). All Israel and Judah loved him because he was so successful in leading the troops in their campaigns. Nevertheless, there were two types of people David encountered as he gradually stepped into the will of God for his life: (1) the one who envied him(Saul) and (2) the one who made a vow to protect him and the calling of God in his life(Jonathan).
As we fulfill the purposes of God in our life, there are people who will either cheer for us or get envious of our accomplishments. We need a Jonathan who is willing to sacrifice their resources just to protect us until we end up in the place where God wants us to be.
Jesus was more than a Rabbi to Peter; He was his friend. He fulfilled this important role in Peter’s life when he said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men” (Mark 8:33).
What a shocking and unordinary moment! The apostle’s only intention was to protect his Master from the impending danger but what he received in return was a rebuke in front of all the disciples! Moreover, Jesus bluntly identified who was behind Peter’s speech – Satan.
Jesus rebuked Peter, mentioning Satan was only a way for Christ to identify the spirit that was behind Peter’s reaction to a prophecy concerning His death.
In our lives, there will be times we think we are right. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes (Proverbs 16:2). Nevertheless, “there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
The last time I checked, God is still the only omniscient One in heaven and earth. It doesn’t matter how many books we read and how many diplomas are hanging on our walls, we will never be in a place where we know everything.
If there is a blind spot in our lives, we need people who can bluntly tell us what “thus saith the Lord.” We need to be surrounded by people who will tell us what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear.
I am convinced the people we choose to be friends with have an impact on our lives. It doesn’t mean we need to judge and isolate them if they seem harmful. We ought to be kind and friendly to everybody regardless of their behavior towards us. However, choosing the core friends that influence us is different. Tell me who your real friends are and I will tell you who you will become!
Raymart was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. As a third-generation apostolic believer, his exposure to the things of God developed a burning desire to be involved in the ministry. Three years ago, his desire moved him to Canada to become an international Bible college student at Northeast Christian College. He is a licensed minister with the Atlantic District of UPCI, the section 2 youth representative of the district, youth pastor of Ripples United Pentecostal Church, and a graduate school student at Urshan Graduate School of Theology pursuing Master of Arts in Christian Ministries (Intercultural Studies).