Pastor Gbenga Onabanjo told the congregation at the June 4 Sunday first service, which was held at The Fountain of Life Church (TFOLC) headquarters in Lagos State, that true friendship provides emotional and physical warmth in a cold and cruel world as well as spiritual growth.
While taking his text from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, he said that a true friend would continually boost one’s happiness and reduce one’s stress.
“Your areas of weakness, he will downplay, but your areas of strength, he will deepen and strengthen,” he said.
According to the clergyman, loyalty, empathy, trust, honesty, and respect are five important virtues of friendship that believers need to exhibit and guard against jealousy.
These virtues, he continued, were exemplified in the lives of David and Jonathan as recorded in 1 Samuel 18:3. They were also seen in the relationship between David and friends like Hushai, the Archite, who expressed his loyalty by agreeing with David to return to the city and defeat the counsel of Ahithophel as recorded in 2 Samuel 15:31-34.
“It is important we cultivate good and loyal friendships. A friendship that is mutual and deeper than the surface of the skin. May God endow us with good and committed friends like Esther who will be there for us to bear our burdens,” he stated.
The cleric continued, “We do need friends in this time and age. No man is an island. No man can be unto himself alone. When God brought forth Adam, He said it is not good for a man to be alone, and therefore, he brought forth Eve. And so, we must have friends.”
Pastor Onabanjo, citing Luke 5:17-26, further said people need friends that would lead them to Christ just as those friends helped their paralytic friend get to Jesus for a miracle.
He admonished the worshippers to look out for good friends and become friends that can tear down every barrier and go to any length to pray for their friends.
“Don’t stop interceding for your friends. Don’t stop having faith in their healing; don’t stop interceding for their marriages and relationships. As you pray for your friends, they will return to testify,” he urged.