July 22, 2011
Friends in Action
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NIV)
What makes a good friend? Someone who runs errands for you when you're sick? Who takes your kids off your hands when you need a break? Who sits with you over a cup of coffee and listens? Someone you can count on to see the latest chick flicks with you? Someone who challenges you to be a better wife, mother, and follower of God?
In each of these examples, we see friendship taking an active form. As I have studied the Bible, I see three instances of friendship in action. Job 2:11-13 shows us how Job's friends came to help him as he faced hardship. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar dropped everything to go comfort their friend — even if it was just to sit silently beside him. They knew that just their presence and willingness to listen would comfort him.
Acts 28:15 gives us a glimpse into how just the sight of trusted friends can encourage us. Paul's friends heard he was coming so they traveled a great distance to greet him. For Paul this was a huge blessing. Sometimes just knowing someone is willing to make an effort on your behalf will put wind in your sails. I love that Paul first thanked God for his friends. I want to remember, like he did, that friends are a gift from God.
Acts 12:12-19 tells us how Peter's friends couldn't be with him because he was imprisoned. But that didn't stop them from doing what they could. They gathered together to pray. The King James Version of Acts 12:5 says that they were literally praying "without ceasing." These friends knew that corporate prayer was an action they could take on behalf of their friend who needed them.
Whether we physically go to our friend's side or spiritually partner with them in prayer, we can look to these examples from the Bible as to how to be friends in action.
In a society that is more and more driven to social media, texting, and emailing as a way to stay connected, we cannot overlook what taking physical action in real time can mean. We can be active in faith, in love, in joy, in kindness. We choose to act because we understand that we are God's hands and feet to those He puts in our lives. Yes, it takes extra effort, time, and even money to be an active friend. But the blessings outweigh the effort as we live according to the examples God has given us.
Dear Lord, help me to be a friend who takes action. When You lay someone on my heart, help me to feel a sense of urgency to move on their behalf. Help me to follow these Biblical examples and be a friend in action, not just in thought. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Listen to Today's P31 Radio Show
She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen.
Look up the passages that were discussed in today's devotion and read them for yourself. Jot down any thoughts in your journal about the kind of friend you would like to have, and the kind of friend you would like to be.
Is God asking me to be a friend to someone that takes more effort than I want to give? How will I respond?
I'll continue praying for my good friend and won't give up! Today I'll persevere in prayer that God will provide for that special friend.
Acts 24:23, "He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs." (NIV)
Job 42:10, "After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." (NIV)
© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 22 July 2011.