As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT
The sharing of the Holy Spirit lays at the root of Christian friendship. Mutuality involving encouragement, good counsel and accountability remain essential components, but a relationship that has Christ as its core becomes a priceless interrelationship. Ecclesiastes 4:12 describes the strength of more than one: A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better than one, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. A common proverbial expression in ancient literature, this "threefold cord" indicates value in companionship and preparedness. Experiencing unity and grace through Christian relationships helps to deepen our understanding of God's love.
Friendship is a sheltering tree. Coleridge
While every relationship differs, certain characteristics define Christian friendship. God must be first. This friendship must share a common love for God which brings spiritual joy, even in times of distress and chaos. Communication involves giving and taking both encouragement and counsel. Within the relationship, security comes from loyalty, from honoring confidences without fear of betrayal. Christian friendship can be an enduring kinship ~ but only if Christ makes three!
Consider this Yiddish Proverb: There are 3 types of friends; those like food without which you can't live, those like medicine which you need occasionally, and those like illness which you never want. Then ask yourself: What kind of friend am I? ~ dho