Do you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother? Do you have someone that loves you no matter what? Do you have a dear one that would even hurt you in order to help you? Do you have one who cares enough to risk your anger by speaking the truth? Do you have anyone who loves you enough to jeopardise your friendship and trust.. by offering a justified rebuke, giving a timely warning or proffering wise advice? If you have just one you are truly blessed. If you have more that one you are rare indeed, for it takes courage to offer a warning word of advice or point out a justified failing.
In this sin-sick world sincerity, love and truth are becoming very sparse. It has infiltrated Christendom with a seeker-friendly gospel. It has spread between brothers in the faith as they try to appease each other. It has penetrated truth in relationships when one won’t risk upsetting another.
A true friend will help to hone and improve your life. A friend that sticks closer than a brother will help to put an edge on your life. Such a friend will make you sharper as a person and help to prevent a fall.
Matthew Henry writes: “It is good for us to be reproved, and told of our faults by our friends. If true love in the heart has but zeal and courage enough to show itself in dealing plainly with our friends, and reproving them for what they say and do amiss, this is really better, though for the present they are painful as wounds. It is a sign that our friends are faithful indeed, if in love to our souls, they will not suffer ill upon us, nor let us alone in it. It is dangerous to be caressed and flattered by an enemy, whose kisses are deceitful. We can take no pleasure in them because we have not confidence in them -(Joab’s kiss and the kiss of Judas were both deceitful) and therefore we have need to stand our guard, that we be not deluded by them: they are to be deprecated – strongly disapproved of.”
To lovingly receive a timely word from a friend is wise indeed. To graciously accept a friends’ counsel demonstrates humility of spirit:- for as iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27.17 And the truly wise man not only accepts but seeks to apply timely words.
God in His love and wisdom uses many forms of child-training in each of our lives. He may use a life experience; a verse of scripture; a thought in the conscience. He may use the tempter’s taunts or the wounding word from a caring friend. He once used a donkey to chasten the erring prophet Balaam!
God is not an indulgent parent nor a cruel one. God will never compromise the standards He seeks in us for our child-training, nor will He administer brutish, cold-hearted correction that lacks of compassion. No child-training for the present is ….. joyous… nevertheless afterward….. Hebrews 12:11 – but this we know.. God chastens all those that He loves as the writer to the Hebrews reminds us. He uses a different method and mode in each of His children as is best for them.
Humility of Heart
In Hebrews the words ‘chastening’ and ‘child-training’ have deep roots.. ‘Chastening’ and ‘child-training’ have roots – deep in HUMILITY. Humility of heart is the Grace that graces all graces when chastening is concerned.
What is Humility?
Humility requires a Teachable Spirit. Humility is born from the Supreme Good – LOVE. Humility is the Garment of Grace. Humility is the Adornment of the Heart. Humility requires us to submit to the Spirit to search out our Secret Sins.
Humility begins with a sense of subordination. Humility points away from Self to Christ. Humility does not feel it’s his right to have better treatment than others. Humility asserts truth and does not to bolster ego. Humility puts the interest of others first. Humility does not control or seek to triumphs in debate. Humility lives as service to Christ and love to the adversary. Humility knows it is dependent upon grace for all knowing and believing.
Our Worthy Example
Humility knows it is fallible. Humility considers constructive criticism and learns from it. Humility also knows that God has made provision for human conviction, and that He calls us to persuade others. Christ also suffered for you leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps 1 Peter 2:21 Christ truly was Our Worthy Example.
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.
11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.
12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.
15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
4 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
2 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
23 Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
24 But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.
25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.
29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:
30 Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
18 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
3 When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
4 The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.
23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
101 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.
2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord.
107 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
15 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.
17 Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.
19 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.
28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;
34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.
36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;
37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.
38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.
40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.
41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.
42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.
43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.
140 Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;
2 Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.
3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.
4 Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.
5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
6 I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.
7 O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.
9 As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.
10 Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
11 Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.
12 I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.