And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
The British theologian and poet John Donne once famously said, “No man is an island unto himself.” Likewise, no Christian is an island unto himself. We desperately need the companionship of others.
Friendships offer us protection when we are under siege. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:5: “Our flesh has no rest, but we were afflicted on every side. Conflicts from without, fears from within.” Paul was expressing the basic truth that we are almost always under attack. Those attacks may come from other people. They may come from the life circumstances we encounter. They may occur from Satan himself. But we are under siege.
The value of friendships is that they offer us protection when are under attack. That’s what Solomon is talking about in Ecclesiastes 4:12: “If one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A chord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” In other words, there is strength and protection when you bind yourself to another person or a group of people.
Sometimes our friends are advocates for us when are being mistreated by others. One of the occupational hazards of ministry is criticism. You make yourself a moving target when you get involved in any kind of ministry at all. And as I look back in my previous churches, I am so grateful for men and women who would stand up for me and advocate for me when I was being unfairly criticized. Friends can do that for you as well. They can protect us from unfair criticism. Other times a close friend can help protect us when we’re under siege from the enemy, from Satan himself. Sometimes a good friend can just give us a fresh perspective on what we’re going through. A friend can say to us, “You know, as I look at what you are experiencing right now, it seems to me that Satan is trying to hurt you. He’s trying to discourage you. And I want you to know, I’m going to pray for you during this time in your life.” Sometimes friends will give us the perspective that we need.
Do you have an individual or group of people who can offer your protection when you’re under attack from other people or circumstances or Satan himself? If not, begin today to seek out friendships with trusted people.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Living with Loneliness,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.