Howard Hughes was an enormously wealthy man. When his fortune totaled about 4 billion dollars, he said, “I’d give it all for one good friend.” He died friendless in 1976.
According to surveys taken just this year, friendless people have become an epidemic. Of those between the ages of 23 and 38 (often called millennials), 30% report that they are lonely. 22% said they have “no close friends,” and 25% said they have no acquaintances. That makes millennials the loneliest of all the generations that have ever been surveyed. [See: shorturl.at/JLRV7]
Psychologists admit they don’t know why so many people are lonely. We know it can’t be because they lack the opportunity to connect with others. Technology gives us more ways to reach out to other people than ever before in the history of the world. For example, there is Facebook, Twitter, Snap Inc, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, just to name a few.
It is just natural to want friends who know us intimately with all our flaws, but who love us faithfully anyway. The Bible says, “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17). We all long to have at least one person who is willing to love us no matter what. I think that is true for everybody, even for those who have given up hope that they will ever have a true friend, those who have tried and who have been hurt too many times.
Thankfully, God never intended for us to be lonely. He actually created us to be social creatures. Then, to make sure that our need for a friend could be met, God Himself offered to be our best friend. Not only that, He has also designed His own special social networking group. More on that in a minute.
It may sound strange that I would talk about having God as your best friend, but I know that it can happen. Jesus made this very clear when He looked at His followers and said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. [Jesus was about to be crucified.] You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).
Have you ever considered that you could have God as your personal friend? Abraham discovered this truth. “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23).
An actual individual friendship with the eternal God is possible because He selflessly paid for the sin that separates us from His holy nature. “For even the Son of Man [an Old Testament title for Jesus the Messiah] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
You never need to despair. God’s offer of forgiveness and friendship has been extended to everyone. “You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You” (Psalm 86:5). I’m so glad that God deals tenderly with His friends, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).
As they say in the late-night TV infomercials, but wait, that’s not all! When Christ, who died for our sins, becomes our friend, He joins us to others who are also His friends. That is a beautiful thing!
God has designed it so that Christians can experience an amazing bond of friendship every time they get together. That is one of the reasons we enjoy gathering together as often as we can here at Bethel Chapel Church. We don’t love each other because we are all similar. We are a multiethnic, multicultural, and multigenerational church. That is a good thing. It is a little taste of what heaven will be like. We know this because the Bible tells us about the worship in heaven: “… a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:9–10).
If you don’t want to be friends with people who are different than you are, heaven would be a miserable place for you. All different kinds of Christian people worship God together now, and they will be worshipping Him together for all eternity
Christians love each other just because they are in love with Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus said that the way Christians treat each other will either prove or disprove their claims that they are His followers. “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Good and lasting friendships are rare, but the one who created you wants you to experience them.
If you would like to learn more about how Jesus Christ can be your best friend, drop me a note at BethelChapelChurch@gmail.com, or leave a comment at www.BethelChapelChurch.com. If you are interested in forming friendships with others who love Jesus, come on by and visit with us.