“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
God made us to be relational people, hence the way He demonstrates His desire not just to be our God, but to have a personal relationship with us. He made us to live in community with one another, to form friendships. Need an example? Take a look at the life of Jesus. For the majority of His time here on earth, He was surrounded by those He loved dearly - His disciples. They were His community. Jesus’ relationship with his disciples perfectly demonstrates what a friendship should be.
He challenged them. (Matthew 4:18-22)
He was honest with them. (Matthew 14:22-33)
He made Himself trustworthy. (John 14:1-4)
He spent time with them. (Mark 3:13-15)
He prayed for them. (John 17:6-19)
He loved them and therefore sacrificed for them. (John 15:13)
Now, I’m not saying go find Mr. or Mrs. Perfect and befriend them. Jesus is the only one that fits that description. However, I don’t think it’s the worst idea in the world to try and imitate our friendships here on earth after that of Jesus and His disciples.
So in taking a look at your friendships, are these traits above present or are they pretty nonexistent? You see, God doesn’t want us to settle when it comes to our friends. If we are to imitate His life as He tells us to, then that means imitating all aspects of His life, even who He chose to surround Himself by. To clarify, that doesn’t mean eliminate all non-Christian friends from your life. No, Jesus even ate with the “sinners and tax collectors”(Mark 2:16). But it is important for us to be aware of how we are affected by our friendships.
You can think of it as checking up on the “symptoms” of your friendships. The people we spend time with influence us. Think about it. When you hang out with your friends a lot, your mannerisms can begin to rub off on each other.
Proverbs 13:20 tells us that, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” So, upon looking at the “symptoms” or different influences that come from being with our friends, we should ask ourselves these questions: Do these symptoms reflect Jesus? Do they accent me in a negative or positive way? Upon answering these questions, it might mean that we look at our life and realize that the people we are surrounding ourselves with might not be the best company for where we are right now, and that can be a really hard realization. But remember, God designed us for relationship. He wants us to have friends, so the right ones will come in His perfect timing.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” This, to me, is what friendship should be. Bringing out the best in one another. Challenging each other out of love to be the best person we can be. I can tell you firsthand that the wait (if needed) is well worth it. God knows what we need, who we need, and when we need them the most.