How To Be A Bad Facebook Friend

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From Christopher Ash, Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Crossway, 2014), 428–9:

Job’s friends have a theological scheme, a tidy system, well-swept, well-defined, and entirely satisfying to them. But they have no relationship with the God behind their formulas. There is no wonder, no awe, no longing, no yearning, and no prayer to meet and speak with and hear and see the God of their formulas. They are content with the rules of The System they have invented.

Now some of their statements considered on their own are correct. For example, in 5:13 Eliphaz says that God “catches the wise in their own craftiness”; the clever person will be called to account by God. That is true, and we have seen that Paul quotes Eliphaz with approval in 1 Corinthians 3:19.

But although the friends make some statements that are true, they do not as a whole speak rightly of God because they have no relationship with God, no seeking of God, and no longing for God. For them he is a dead doctrine and an abstract theory.

What a Super-Friend We Have in Jesus

I am richly blessed by a set of incredible set of friends, a fact that I am especially reminded of whenever I attend a conference like this one (DG pastors conference, Minneapolis). Each of my wise and godly friends are grace gifts from God. But I am especially thankful for Christ, my Super-Friend, to borrow a term from Ray Ortlund’s forthcoming commentary Proverbs: Wisdom That Works (Crossway: March, 2012). It is one of those “must-reads” of 2012.

Here’s what Ortlund writes:

You might have many pseudo-friends who will let you down, even when everything is on the line. But you can also have one Super-Friend who sticks closer than a brother. When the Apostle Paul was put on trial before Caesar, all his friends hightailed it. But it was okay with Paul. He was not even angry. Why? “The Lord stood by me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17). Proverbs 18:24 is saying, real friends are not found in quantity but in quality. And no one offers us higher quality friendship than Jesus Christ.

When he laid down his life for his friends at the cross, he was forsaken, though he was loyal, so that we would never be forsaken, though we are disloyal. He was the offended brother, but he opened the castle of his heart. We put our feet frequently in his house, but he never wishes we would go away.

C. S. Lewis, in his essay on friendship, says that a new friendship starts out like this: “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” Friends do not need to be alike. They just discover how much they have in common.

Guess what you have in common with Christ? Everything you care about the most.

He cares about you.

He cares about your sin.

He cares about your future.

He thinks about you.

He understands you.

He loves you.

You are not alone.

He is here.

You can receive him now.

Will you let the eternal friendship begin for you today?

Our Friends and Our Future

Proverbs 13:20:

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 27:17:

Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.

Daniel J. Estes, Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms (Baker Academic, 2005), page 239:

Proverbs makes it clear that friendship has a great potential for good or for bad. In essence, we choose our friends, and our friends change us. … The influence of a wise friend can sharpen one’s discernment, perspective, and insight in many ways that one could not achieve by individual efforts. Because of the significant effects that friends produce in those who are close to them, to a large degree the friends we choose determine what kind of people we become. Consequently, we must choose our friends wisely, for in choosing them we are likely choosing our own future.