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Ants. Really?

The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer.

Proverbs 30:25
Ants. Really? Book Cover

Ants. Really?

Proverbs 6:6 tells us to consider the ways of the ant and gain wisdom. Wisdom…from ants? We humans usually think we have wisdom on lockdown, but let’s do what the proverbs say and take a moment to observe. Have you ever been sitting at a summertime picnic, enjoying burgers and hot dogs (or a leafy green salad if you’re into that sort of thing), only to be attacked by a barrage of ants looking to pilfer your summertime treats like pirate booty and abscond with them to their tiny yet intricate ant abodes? How do these little insects do it?

Ants understand the power of community. Where there is one ant, there are plenty more ants to follow, and ants firmly believe in leaving no other ant behind. These tiny, industrious insects do everything in community—eat together, live together, work together. Ants, in all of their smallness, understand the power of community.

a righteous guide

No, we are not ants—but we do have something in common with them. Like ants, the key to our thriving is community unified by righteous drive found in Christ. Godly friends don’t lead others into danger or a ditch. Proverbs 12:26 puts it this way, “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” In the same way that ants lead each other one by one to the delicious picnic morsels, godly friends walk in the same direction—toward the upward call of Jesus (Philippians 3:14). He’s the motivation. He’s the prize. Hebrews 12 describes the Christian life as a race with Jesus as the goal—and as we run, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.

If words can form a pathway for our friends, godly friends pave that path with truth. In a famous scene from the film “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson as Colonel Nathan R. Jessup shouts from the witness stand, “You can’t handle the truth!” Sometimes, we withhold the truth in attempts to spare our friends and loved ones, or even to save ourselves. That is not righteous honesty. We always lovingly speak the truth because how can we be righteous guides if we are dishonest? Withholding the truth creates opportunity for strife and separation. Righteous honesty is always part of loving well.

When we are Christ-centered friends, we encourage others to pursue abundant life by cheering them on to pursue Jesus, and offering truthful compassion. How privileged are we to get to walk with friends and witness the will and presence of God in their lives?


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Not Alone

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A Theology of Friendship

Daily Question

Think of a time when you were in a friendship that was not Christ-centered. What did you learn about yourself and the Lord from that experience?

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Comments (11)

I learned through the many friendships that there’s a time to listen and a time to speak. Christ will give me the understanding and patience to where, little words spoken are enough…

I learned how easily influenced I can be if I am not on guard. And I also learned that the Holy Spirit will prompt me as a helper and friend when I may be in a danger zone.

None of my friendships are Christ centered and this is something I would like to change. I think my walk would be easier if I had more Christ centered friendships. Now, I do have friends who are good people but their faith is kept to themselves and we do not discuss it. However, when my children were really young and my husband deployed, I felt alone in a new town and I remember making friends with a workout instructor. She was full of life and energy and I LOVED IT! But the more I was around her, the more I saw that I wasn’t a fan of things she did nor did I find her to be a good person (cheating on her husband, not caring for her children properly, and not being honest about everyday Simple things). I ignored these things for a bit but it started to wear on me so I decided to be honest with her and tell her this. Thinking good friends need to be honest like how I don’t want to lie for you- I am not your cover- I am your friend and I don’t think this affair is a good idea as your not being honest with anyone. Sneaking around may sound fun but I find it a lot of work and for nothing in the end. Needless to say- if I wasn’t okay with that- we weren’t okay and are no longer friends. But I learned to be true to myself and if they are a true friend then they will hear what I have to say and we can work around difficult issues. I want my friends to be honest with me and give my feedback when I am steering myself in the wrong direction. I want my friends to be good people with values that I know, love, and can respect.

I have many friendships that aren’t Christ-centered but they still bring me joy and build me up. I did learn however, that I do desire a friendship that is Christ-centered so I can have someone who I could share my faith with and who can speak the word of God to me when I need it most. I miss being able to discuss God speaking to me, or times where I felt Jesus at work with someone without wondering if they would understand or feel as though I was trying to press my faith on them.

Hi Angela,
I have felt the very same. I have been a part of a very large church and have found it difficult to make deep friendships. I am going to a smaller church now and hope to gain some lasting friends who want to pour into me as well.
I hope life is better for you.

I learned how easy it was to sin and how it was not just ignored but praised. Gossip, drinking, sexual sin etc. I learned how easily I sway into a sin. I do know the lord was with me and watching over me. I never was hurt or caught in trouble. I also never went to far, gripped by addiction or worst. God always was with me even though I had turned from him. My Christ-centered friendships keep me in check and hold me accountable. I still sin but it’s not so praised or celebrated. I also believe God puts certain ppl in my life for specific reasons. Either to learn more about myself or be there for someone else.

I’m currently in a "friendship" with someone that is not Christ-centered. She claims to have faith, but is always in the middle of some sort of emotional turmoil. Often times, it’s turmoil that has a solution, but she would rather whine and complain. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was and that setting boundaries for my own emotional safety is ok as well as necessary. Boy am I thankful that I have the Lord. I may question His authority and why He allows such bad things to happen to innocent children and animals, but I can’t imagine walking through all of it without Him. When she is in her self-pity, self-righteousness, etc. modes, I’m so thankful that I have God as a friend. That I have the promise of what is to come despite what I encounter in this life. I wish so badly that she would accept that comfort vs just stating that she admires my relationship with God.

It didn’t last. It wasn’t life giving and I found myself holding back what I loved so much, Jesus.
The community I have around me I have seen growth and fruit in each of us.

In a time when I was in a friendship that wasn’t Christ centered, it was a very draining, negative experience. It was hard for us to see eachothers perspectives or to agree to disagree peacefully. It was lots of quarrels and disagreements. I learned that Jesus must be present in friendships in order for them to grow!

I had a very good friend. I learned that what others value and believe seeps into the freindship and divides it. I learned that friends need to hold your same values to be able to support you or advise you when you need a freind.

Our friendship did not last. She made some bad choices that I did not agree with and it ended our friendship. What did I learn? People may be very nice and friendly but that doesn’t mean they are your friend.

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