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Old Friends

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The pace of modern life puts great strain on our relationships. Acquaintances come and go. Friendships are put to the test. Are you doing all you can to be a true friend to others—and to make friends with the truest friend of all?

An observer of the modern scene recently noted that people today do not have many friends; some people have none at all. With the hectic pace of modern life, it seems that many do not take the time or have the opportunity to develop lasting friendships.

As life progresses and the years roll by, our friendships change. Interests diminish where they once flourished. People move away to pursue careers, or to escape problems and start afresh in a new location. Companies or even whole industries restructure, disrupting the lives of employees. Workers are "downsized" or "outsourced" so a firm can survive or simply improve its profitability. In the process, highly valued business friendships evaporate, leaving those affected feeling empty and abandoned.

When families break up, relationships that were once comfortable and rewarding can be shattered, deeply wounding those involved. After suffering great hurt and disillusionment, some withdraw and are slow to establish new relationships, for fear of being hurt yet once again.

Close friendships today are strained by distance and time—by long commutes that soak up hours once spent with loved ones, by schools far away from a child's neighborhood, and by two-income households leaving little time for family members to share with each other or with friends. Even modern technology is a "mixed blessing"—instant messaging and e-mail allow us to stay in touch, but remind us that we are apart.

The book of Proverbs, in your Bible, says much about the importance of friends—and shows us how to have good friends. For example: "A man who has friends must himself be friendly" (Proverbs 18:24). We need to do our part to attract good friends.

A friend can be counted upon: "A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17). A true friend will tell you what you need to hear, even if it is unpleasant: "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Proverbs 27:6). It is important that we be loyal to our friends: "Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend" (Proverbs 27:10). Indeed, we can do much to build lasting friendship if we apply godly principles found in the Bible.

Scripture also reveals that we have one friend who can always be counted upon—now, and for all time. Jesus Christ told His disciples: "You are my friends if you do what ever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things I heard from my father I have made known to you" (John 15:14–15).

A little more than 20 years ago, Roger Miller recorded "Old Friends," a wonderful song that still resonates today. He sang:

"Old friends… Lord, when all my work is done / Bless my life, grant me one old friend / At least one old friend."

We all hope to make many good friends in this life. But the friendship that matters most is the one that will transcend all adversity, and even death. If you have not already done so, make friends with the soon-coming King of kings and Lord of lords—Jesus Christ. That Friend told us, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14). To learn more about how to do as He commanded, and establish your friendship with Him, please write or go to our www.tomorrowsworld.org Web site to request your free copy of our booklet, What Is a True Christian? It may change your life—now, and forever!

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