Proverbs 19b

The Fake Vs. The Faithful Friend.

“Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest.” – Proverbs 19:22 NLT

Nobody likes fakes friends. You know the kind. They smile and act as if they’re your best friend, but when your back is turned, they turn on you. They desert you. They prove to be disingenuous to you. But the very next time you see them, they act as if nothing has happened and all is well. They’re fake and can be highly frustrating. Sometimes people can pretend to like us for what we own, less than for who we are. They like our “toys” and so they will tolerate us in order to have access to them. Solomon warns us about this kind of “friend.” He says, “wealth makes many ‘friends’; poverty drives them all away” (Proverbs 19:4 NLT). In other words, these are fair-weather friends who like us as long as we have something they want. Once that something goes away, so do they. Their friendship was just a facade to facilitate their own selfish desires. Sometimes what others want from us is our influence. They see us as a person of importance and so they come alongside us, offering to be our friend just so that they might have access to our circle of influence. Solomon warns us about these kinds of friends as well: “Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts” (Proverbs 19:6 NLT). A powerful person can mistakenly believe that everyone beating a path to his door is truly interested in being his friend, when what they really want is not a relationship, but a favor. Everyone loves a generous person. Everyone is willing to put up with even the most obnoxious person as long as he gives them gifts. But these people are not true friends.
All of this reveals the sin that lurks in the heart of everyone of us. We can easily turn friendship into a self-centered pursuit that is all about us with little regard for the other person in the relationship. Think about how many friendships dissolve because the other person failed to meet our expectations, let us down, or were easily replaced by someone more popular, attractive, or beneficial to us in some way. Yet that is not the kind of friendship we are called to by God. Loyalty is important to Him. He doesn’t want us to use one another and selfishly manipulate our relationships just to get the most out of them. Loyalty and love go hand in hand. Loyalty is an expression of love. Loyalty is what makes a person truly attractive as a friend (Proverbs 19:22). The faithful, unfailing friend is the one we will look for in the end. When all the fake friends have long deserted us, a faithful friend will still be there, waiting to reestablish the relationship we once had with them. Fake friends are fickle friends. Faithful friends are steadfast and true. What kind of a friend are you? Do you choose your friends based on what you are going to get out of the relationship? Is your motivation self-serving or selfless? Can you count the number of poor friends you have on one hand?
Solomon reminds us, “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NLT). Again, what kind of a friend are you?

Father, make me a faithful, not a fake, friend. I want to be honest, not disingenuous. I want to be real in my relationships. Forgive me for using people for my own selfish interests. Give me a heart like You have. Help me to give my life away, expecting nothing in return. Don’t let me measure my friendships based on what I can get out of them, but instead, by what I can give. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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