Friends of the world
Now that I am out of the world there is one thing that I still miss, that I expected to be able to find in the church, which is to have a proper friend. When I was in the world there were certain people that I used to be in contact with whom it was obvious that they were real friends, because things happened a lot differently with them, compared with how things happen with an average Christian. It took me a little while to realise that this was the case, because of the initial honeymoon period after baptism, where you feel that you can somehow improve things, but once that period was over, it was obvious how stubborn the people in the church were. This was also the time when I realised how difficult it was to be friends with church people, because they will only want your phone number when they need some help with something wordly. I also made the mistake of phoning up two church brothers, to see how they were, with the grumpy reception then putting me off from making that mistake again. I realised then that the only church people that are safe to call, are the ones who say that you should call them, but it seems as if the rest of them do not expect to be disturbed, during their time off from God. I also have the the email addresses and phone numbers of a few church brothers and have sent them quite a few texts, while only getting replies from certain of them, with the rest not even bothering to send anything. When I have sent emails even less of them seem to reply, but I have a feeling that this is because I am always talking about things relating to God's word, rather than about the things relating to glorifying the flesh.
Gi'me dat ol' time friendship
It was obvious when a person in the world was a true friend, because of the greeting that you would get when you phone them up, with you then also giving them a good return greeting, because of how you feel about them. I remember how they used to phone up and we would be on the phone for hours, talking about our common interests, with us also taking those interests very seriously. Trying to get an average modern Christian to take God seriously seems to be a very difficult thing, even when you are there speaing directly to them, while the heathen will usually be serious about getting the most out of their interests. Another thing that used to happen, when I knew my friends of the world, was that we would sometimes drive each other home after the activites that we persued in central London. The interesting thing about this is that sometimes one of us would live in a northern part of London, while the other would live a way down in the south part, but the southern friend would have no problem dropping the northern friend off near or at their house, with them then having to drive the extra distance, back through the center, to then get to their house. There was never a night that the drop was refused and I realised that this was because of the genuine nature of the friendship. While it is usually only safe to get a lift from a church person if they offer it, so that you do not mistakenly get them when they are in the wrong mood.
Recognising a true friend
We can read of a genuine friendship in the Bible in I Samuel 19:1-7 which says "And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee. And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause? And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain. And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past." and we can see here one of the easy ways to tell if a person is your friend, which is that they will defend you from the evil desires of other people, rather than just keeping quiet and saying it was nothing to do with them. We can see that their friendship was genuine by reading I Samuel 20:1-27 which says "And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life? And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so. And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death. Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee. And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Beth–lehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family. If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him. Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father? And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee? Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly? And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field. And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee; The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father. And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not: But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth. So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies. And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul." and we see here that it is easy for true friends to ask each other to do things, whithout having to worry about them giving an unfriendly response. I also remember that one of my friends would specifically ask me if everything was ok between us, when he thought he might have detected a bit of grumpiness in me, which is good because it showed that he was willing to do the work to maintain the friendship.
Real friends suffer with you
We can read about some more real friends in Job 2:11-13 which says "Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great." and we can see here another example of true friendship, where they were prepared to leave off their worldly desires for seven whole days, in order to go and mourn with someone that they know. At this moment in time I cannot think of a single modern church person who would do such a thing, but it seems as if God is still expecting these types of people to exist even in this current world. We can read of this requirement in I Corinthians 13:4-8 which says "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." and we see here that Job's friends were prepared to suffer with him for seven days, showing that they had some of the same charity in them that the Apostle Paul was talking about. Imaging how famous God's church would be if it was filled with people who were as described above, but the modern Christian church seems to be devoid of these types of people, so it has to make do with being on the sidelines.
Closer than blood
Now some people might make the mistake of thinking that their physical family members are the ones that they should be closest to, but Jesus has informed us that this is not the case, which we can read of in Matthew 12:46-50 which says "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." and we see here Jesus describing who our real family should be, with Him then confirming that they are His friends in John 15:9-17 which says "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another." and we see here that doing God's will and keeping His commandments is central to a group of people being real friends. This also means that you cannot be real friends with a group of people who want to serve the Devil, if you want to have a chance of making it to God's kingdom.
Commandment keeping friends are the best
So it looks as if finding a real friend in the modern Christian church is going to be an almost impossible thing because they have become too skillfull at destroying God's commandments, whether they are from the Old or New Testament, which then means that they cannot be abiding in the Fathers love, so it is hardly surprising that they will not be interested in sacrificing a part of their life, in order to be friends with other people who are outside of their family. This is also an easy way of telling if a church is genuine, because there are plenty of organisations that have friendly people in them, but God is effectively saying that their friendship is guaranteed to be fake if they do not keep His commandments, while also teaching you to do the same as well, like a true friend would, because how can someone who hates God then be a friend to you?