Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.
A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.
Do you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother? Do you have someone that loves you no matter what? Do you have a dear one that would even hurt you in order to help you? Do you have one who cares enough to risk your anger by speaking the truth? Do you have anyone who loves you enough to jeopardise your friendship and trust.. by offering a justified rebuke, giving a timely warning or proffering wise advice? If you have just one you are truly blessed. If you have more that one you are rare indeed, for it takes courage to offer a warning word of advice or point out a justified failing.
In this sin-sick world sincerity, love and truth are becoming very sparse. It has infiltrated Christendom with a seeker-friendly gospel. It has spread between brothers in the faith as they try to appease each other. It has penetrated truth in relationships when one won't risk upsetting another.
A true friend will help to hone and improve your life. A friend that sticks closer than a brother will help to put an edge on your life. Such a friend will make you sharper as a person and help to prevent a fall.
Matthew Henry writes: “It is good for us to be reproved, and told of our faults by our friends. If true love in the heart has but zeal and courage enough to show itself in dealing plainly with our friends, and reproving them for what they say and do amiss, this is really better, though for the present they are painful as wounds. It is a sign that our friends are faithful indeed, if in love to our souls, they will not suffer ill upon us, nor let us alone in it. It is dangerous to be caressed and flattered by an enemy, whose kisses are deceitful. We can take no pleasure in them because we have not confidence in them -(Joab’s kiss and the kiss of Judas were both deceitful) and therefore we have need to stand our guard, that we be not deluded by them: they are to be deprecated – strongly disapproved of.”
To lovingly receive a timely word from a friend is wise indeed. To graciously accept a friends’ counsel demonstrates humility of spirit:- for as iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Prov.27.17 And the truly wise man not only accepts but seeks to apply timely words.
God in His love and wisdom uses many forms of child-training in each of our lives. He may use a life experience; a verse of scripture; a thought in the conscience. He may use the tempter’s taunts or the wounding word from a caring friend. He once used a donkey to chasten the erring prophet Balaam!
God is not an indulgent parent nor a cruel one. God will never compromise the standards He seeks in us for our child-training, nor will He administer brutish, cold-hearted correction that lacks of compassion. No child-training for the present is ….. joyous… nevertheless afterward….. Heb.12:11 – but this we know.. God chastens all those that He loves as the writer to the Hebrews reminds us. He uses a different method and mode in each of His children as is best for them.
In Hebrews the words ‘chastening’ and ‘child-training’ have deep roots.. ‘Chastening’ and ‘child-training’ have roots – deep in HUMILITY. Humility of heart is the Grace that graces all graces when chastening is concerned.
Humility requires a Teachable Spirit. Humility is born from the Supreme Good – LOVE. Humility is the Garment of Grace. Humility is the Adornment of the Heart. Humility requires us to submit to the Spirit to search out our Secret Sins.
Humility begins with a sense of subordination. Humility points away from Self to Christ. Humility does not feel it’s his right to have better treatment than others. Humility asserts truth and does not to bolster ego. Humility puts the interest of others first. Humility does not control or seek to triumphs in debate. Humility lives as service to Christ and love to the adversary. Humility knows it is dependent upon grace for all knowing and believing.
Humility knows it is fallible. Humility considers constructive criticism and learns from it. Humility also knows that God has made provision for human conviction, and that He calls us to persuade others. Christ also suffered for you leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps 1Peter 2:21 Christ truly was Our Worthy Example.
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