Everyone needs a good friend. I hope this post will help you recognize good friendship – both in others and in yourself.
One of the keys to having good friends is being a good friend. So, I want to share with you 3 Characteristics of a Good Friend.
(Before you start examining whether or not you have anyone like this in your life, I think it best to ask yourself if you possess these characteristics. In other words, does anyone have you as this type of friend toward them?)
I recently preached a sermon at our church FBC Fairdale on the book of Philemon. The book is a letter written by Paul to his dear friend Philemon, and these 3 characteristics help outline the story of the letter. You can listen to my sermon on Philemon and friendship here.
Three Characteristics of a Good Friend
- REFRESHING – Good friends are refreshing! Simply put, a good friend is someone who makes you a better person. In verse 7 of Philemon Paul says to his friend “I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.” Philemon brought joy and comfort to Paul and other people. This was refreshing. A good friend does not bring you down. A good friend is a joy to be around. A good friend is someone whom you were glad you spent some time with. When was the last time you said ‘Now that was refreshing!”
I recently when out of town to visit some friends. After having dinner and breakfast with two friends I had not seen in years, I was so refreshed. As I was driving home from that trip, I found myself thinking ‘I love those guys. It is so refreshing to spend time with them.” In verse 20, Paul directly asks Philemon to ‘refresh my heart.” Now thats a good friend – someone you can go to to be refreshed!
We need more refreshing people in our lives. Let me ask, is there anyone out there who has you a refreshing friend?
- USEFUL – Good friends are useful! Simply put, a good friend is someone who helps you. A good friend is someone who is good to you. In verse 11 of Philemon Paul is telling his friend of a new common friend of theirs “who is now indeed useful to you and to me.” Paul saw this new friend, Onesimus, as useful and beneficial. When was the last time you said ‘I am so thankful for so & so. I don’t know what I would do without them.” That is a good and useful friend! Back over Christmas break I became quite sick with a stomach bug. And one of my dear friends went out of his way to bring me some cans of chicken noodle soup and some bottles of Gatorade. That is a good friend. He helped me. He is useful to me. Let me ask, is there anyone out there who has you as a useful friend?
- CONFIDENCE – Good friends give you confidence! Simply put, a good friend is someone you can count on. Not just count on to help you (that was my 2nd point). But count on to be faithful. In verse 21 of Philemon Paul tells his friend “Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.” Paul had confidence in his friendship with Onesimus. When was the last time you were needing a friend to come through with something and they did? Just think about how much worry and anxiety would be eliminated if you had confidence that your friend would handle drama and gossip the right way. We need more friendships that give us confidence! Let me ask, is there anyone out there who has confidence in you as a dear friend to them?
As I said earlier, everyone needs a good friend. I think better said- everyone needs to be a good friend. And I think these 3 characteristics will help you be a better friend.
Finally, in the book of Philemon the key to any of those 3 guys (Paul, Philemon & Onesimus) being a good friend was their faith in Christ. Christ so humbles a man that his desire then is to do good to others. A true Christian should be a good friend!