Okay, it must be my turn to learn about friendship.
In my bible study, we've been studying John 15 and the words of Jesus resound... "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you."
Thanks be to God for the friends He has granted me. They are of the category described above, 'one another'. I know we are 'friends', and thereby 'one anothers' to one another, because they and I have the above mentioned "linking factor" - Jesus Christ. By observing their lives and hearing their words, I see that they desire to do what Jesus commands: loving God and loving others. (Matt.22:37-39)
It is remarkable what friends will give of themselves and it is a testimony of the believer's love to give of themselves... completely. This includes telling the truth despite the fact that it is painful, as well as hugging while it is painful.
Such was my blessed opportunity at study last night, and I thank my friends for their love for God - shown to me.
Let me encourage you... if you do not have friends that will spur, encourage, bear, weep, and pray for you - find some believers with whom you can engage in such a relationship. Plead with God to lead you to such people. Seek them out. Be such an one. Such closeness will generally preclude the opposite sex, but from personal testimony, it is indeed the way God designed Christian fellowship to function.
When it presses too closely or too painfully on our soul, our tendency is to push others farther away, and yet it is precisely at those times that we ought NOT to "forsake the assembling of the saints, as some are in the habit of doing."(Heb.10:25)
We live in a very rich country, with a plethora of choices. Many of our choices dictate the use of our time - a commodity that we often spend foolishly. Please carefully consider becoming a part of a study of pure scripture with people that will truthfully love you... to the point of pain, because "the Lord disciplines those He loves." And what great joy can be found there... what great news it is to be counted among the disciplined ones... what great love that truly is!!