We are simply too selfish (Pro 18:1), too limited in understanding (Pro 18:2), and too foolish (Pro 12:15) to think we can go through life without some serious input from some good friends.
The first obvious benefit of having some good friends is spiritual growth. Just like your physical body doesn’t grow when some of its parts are sick, but your physical body thrives when each part works, so we only grow spiritually when we are part of a great church where each Christian is actively doing the things that good Christians do. If you want to mature as a person, you will need many good Christian friends fulfilling their role in your life.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV)
Another obvious benefit of having that friend who will come alongside you when necessary is spiritual safety. We don’t often think of the outcome of our own ways, but many of our own ways lead to trouble if we persist in them. We need that friend who will speak up when we’ve going along our merry way to self-destruction. We keep each other from worse sins by helping each other with current sins.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.James 5:19-20 (ESV)
On a more mundane level, another obvious benefit of listening to good friends is guidance for life. Those who listen to their good friends don’t end up with the consequences of foolish decisions. We need to cultivate friendships with the wise so we will become like them.
Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,Proverbs 13:18, 20 (ESV)
but whoever heeds reproof is honored.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
But perhaps the greatest benefit of having many good friends is that it is the easiest way to end your life with no regrets. Just listen to the confessions of a man who went his own way against all sound counsel:
at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.Proverbs 5:11-13
A friendship promise:
I need you to be that good friend who will help me grow spiritually, keep me from sin, give me guidance in life, and keep me from wasting my life.
I also commit to be that friend to you, pointing you back to the Bible, helping you see your sinful habits, giving you advice when you need it, and helping you live a life of no regrets.