Devotions

The Blessings of Friendship

By Mary Loudermilk
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“The righteous person is cautious in his friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26, New English Translation).

I just watched my friend walk to her car and head toward home. Last night I hugged another friend goodbye before she left town. The three of us had just enjoyed girlfriend time together. It took a lot of talking to catch up on life since we live hundreds of miles apart. Distance, crazy schedules, and just living life keeps us from getting together often. Sometimes years pass before we realize it.

Some friends are in our lives for a season, but others remain in our lives and hearts forever. No matter how long it’s been, when we get together, we pick up where we left off. It’s seamless and wonderful.

Do you ever thank God for your friends? I do. Sometimes it just a quick prayer to thank Him for all the wonderful people He’s place in my life. Other times I name them, remembering how much they’ve added to my life. Sometimes I just feel surprised that God filled my life with so many amazing people. True friends are a blessing.

Friends love us.

Proverbs 17:17 says, A friend loves at all times” (NKJV). Good times and bad times. Times when we’ve made foolish mistakes. Times when we’ve been less than loveable. Perhaps even times when we’ve failed them in hurtful ways. A friend shows patience, concern, and understanding. They stick when times are tough.

Friends influence us.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, friends can change us. This can be a positive or a negative thing. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (NKJV). I learned this firsthand when a friend at work caused me to become dissatisfied with my job—a job I had really enjoyed until then. With a little soul-searching, I realized the job wasn’t the problem; the negative friend was. Another friend did volunteer work to make her community a better place. She inspired me to look for similar opportunities in my community. Both people influenced me, but in very different ways.

Friends improve us.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us “iron sharpens iron.” Because we can be honest with each other (sometimes brutally so), friends help each other smooth out the rough spots. It’s easier to take constructive advice from a friend because we know they speak out of love and concern. There is also the element of accountability as we allow someone to speak into our lives. They challenge us to excel.

If you haven’t thanked God for the loving, supportive friends He has placed in your life, why not do so now. And then, take time today to tell that friend how much their friendship means to you.

Prayer: Lord, bless my friends in a special way today. Thank You for placing them in my life. And most of all, thank You for being the greatest friend I’ve ever had.

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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