Proverbs 18:24 says, "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." I do not want to "come to ruin". One of the most frustrating and aggravating experiences to go through is a relationship with someone who proves them-self unreliable. Whatever the situation might be - punctuality to events, faithfulness to commitments or empty promises to help - the lack of dependability in a friend not only is insulting but is a total waste of your time and energy.

In my previous post or writing I encouraged all of us to be very selective in choosing our friends. I would like to revisit that again for a moment, because "The righteous choose their friends carefully..." (Prov. 12:26)When you are blessed enough to have a friend who is dependable, there are some other qualities that Scripture mentions that aide in the selection process and that you can be glad you have in your eventual friend. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Friends are great sounding-boards for each other. Friends are great for studying The Word of God and growing together. In the same thought Proverbs 27:9 states, "Ointments and perfume encourage the heart; in a similar way, a friend’s advice is sweet to the soul." For friends that might be a few years older and have gone through similar experiences, their advice is truly sweet because it can save a lot of headaches. If you have a true friend, honesty prevails at all times. Proverbs 27:6 says, "You can trust what your friend says, even when it hurts. But your enemies want to hurt you, even when they act nice." Loyalty to the relationship is important also (Prov. 17:17). Then John reminds us we can have no better Friend than one that would sacrifice His life for yours or mine. He says it like this - "No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 

This leads nicely to the second part of Proverbs 18:24 - "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Wow! Closer than a brother? A brother is blood; a brother is kin - this verse is saying that there is a PARTICULAR FRIEND that is closer than family. To help explain this the second half of Proverbs 17:17 says about the brother - "a brother is born to help in time of need." So, while the brother seems to be only noticeable in time of need - The Closer Friend trumps the brother by being around all the time and therefore dependable in all things. Talk about your Johnny-On-The-Spot type of person. There is no better person to personify this than God's Holy Spirit. 

Christ Jesus paid the life-price to eventually send The Holy Spirit or Closer Friend after His resurrection and ascension. Because of our faith in Him, believers have the best of both worlds - we are part of His Family and He is our Friend. Matthew records Jesus saying, "...whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50). Then about Friendship John remembers Jesus saying, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." This brings a whole new freshness to the lyrics - "What a friend we have in Jesus..." and reassures me as it should every believer in Christ that we have A Reliable Friend.