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Friends are very paramount in our lives. A true friend sticks by you at all times. They rejoice when you are making progress and joyfully celebrate with you. A true friend is always in contact with you because they are interested in what is going on in your life for good. They value your confidence and keep your secrets assuredly safe with them. They are loyal to the point that they can never mock you behind you or ridicule you in public.

Reference: Proverbs 18:24 New International Version (NIV) 'One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.'

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin. This simply means that no one would like to invest time into friendships that are unproductive, unrewarding or not moving them forward. The Scripture further says, 'But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.' A true friend sticks by you. They look beyond faults and flaws and care deeply about you as a whole person. They want to see you at your best, which also means that they are interested in your progress and happiness. The reward of their well-established friendship far outweighs the investment. By investment, I mean the energy and time it takes to build and maintain such friendly relationship.

Let's look at qualities of a true friend:

1. A true friend is a lover of God:

He possesses the 'agape' love, which is the highest form of love: the God - kind of love. This is an unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of a person and his circumstance. So this love is not just 'philia' (brotherly love). It goes beyond just the emotions to the extent of genuinely seeking the best for others. Such friend gives you a helping hand no matter what they know about you. In other words, they are not easily moved by hearsay. They are usually God - sent and so, they are there to fit into God's plans for you and help you fulfil destiny.

An example of such friend in the Bible is Jonathan. Jonathan was the eldest son of King Saul; his intrepidity and fidelity to his friend, the future king David, made him one of the most admired figures in the Bible. Jonathan was unique because he forswore his own comfort and position to support David all the way, even though David was in his father's black book (King Saul).

When Saul tried to enlist Jonathan's aid to kill David, Jonathan wisely covered up. He remained David's friend, thereby warning him of Saul's anger, which enabled David to escape the dangers of being killed by his father. When the two met for the last time in the Wilderness of Ziph, they planned that David would be the next king of Israel and Jonathan his minister (see 1 Samuel 23:16-18).

2. A true friend genuinely supports in times of pressure: Jonathan stuck closer to David till his death. He gave David a helping hand when His life was in danger and helped him relieve the pressure of King Saul's plot. Having studied the passages of the Scripture about David and Jonathan, I noticed that David's family members were never mentioned while David was exposed to the wrath of King Saul. The reason is because, no matter how much his family loved him, sometimes family is just too familiar to be objective and so, it's easier to open up to somebody aside family members.

The Bible says, '...the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice' (Proverbs 27:9 NKJV). The advice or counsel of a good friend is channelled toward one goal - seeing you better. Their loving words are sincere words spoken from the depths of their soul. Not only do they give you wise counsel, they also speak the truth in love and show their disapproval by discreet and constructive criticism, when it's needful.

3. A true friend helps you find good humour in all situations: Honest and supportive friends keep you going in all situations. They truly appreciate the unique qualities God has placed within you and whatever you're becoming in the making. They are equally troubled when you're in distress. No matter the circumstance, whether good or bad, they are there for you. Their aura is like a sweet perfume or incense that brings joy to the heart. The very presence of a true-hearted friend during a challenging situation is sweeter than honey and gives more pleasure than any pain in such situation.

Remarkably, the presence of a true friend can melt the heaviness of a stone and penetrate the weight of sand easily. But the wrong friend will multiply both the heaviness and weight. True friends don't come and go easily. They are resident in the borders of your influence; and much more, they reside indelibly in your mind because they promote your advancement due to their positive impact. They don't just make you feel comfortable and joyful, they support you in everything and value your friendship more than your mistakes. Therefore once you identify them in your life, secure them wisely.

Scripture Reading - Proverbs 12:26; Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Exuberant Declaration: I have the astute insight and acumen to connect to the right people by the influence of God's Spirit. Through the company of the right friends, I advance in my responsibilities beyond my scope of understanding- as it pertains to every area of my life. With their right counsels, I function in higher planes of life where I'm valued, celebrated and motivated to heap up success. Glory to God!


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