[Jesus said,] â€œThis is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â John 15:12-13 (The Message)
Friendship has been on my mind lately. There is a popular phrase: BFF (best friend forever) that seems to be used without much thought or definition.
I have recently spent some time with three people that I count as friends. Here is my definition of a friend: We are both better when we leave each other than we were when we met.
My friend was not my choice, but God’s. I prayed for a BFF before I knew what that was. I thought we would spend time drinking hot tea and laughing about â€“ whatever. Instead we have prayed together and interceded for each other in the middle of the night; offered comfort and kicked each other in the backside when needed. And, yes, we have had some cups of tea. I thank God that He gave me what I needed â€“ and abundantly.
My friend is not separated by geography or time. â€œWe haven’t seen each other in two years and yet we have sat here for two hours and talked like it was yesterday,â€ she said. Jesus said that I should love the way He loves me. To me that means that I love first not in response to a love. Jesus then says that I should put my life down for my friend. It means that I am willing to give my all to encourage and empower them to be all she can be. I pray. I encourage. I can be counted on to build up, not tear down.
My friend â€“ my spouse. Too often I forget that the #1 friend in my life is my spouse. Everything that I have said in the above paragraphs applies to my husband. Love as Jesus has loved me and lay down my life, my wants, for my husband’s wants. And at the end of the day, have my words and actions left my husband feeling better than when he started his day? Ouch. There’s something to take before my LORD and allow Him to shine His Light on all dark corners in my life!
Friends can be many and varied. They are wonderful to come together to break bread and celebrate our joys and even to bring comfort in difficult days. It is those few friends that know the miracles of every day life. Remember that in Jesus’ life it was only three (Peter, James, and John) who saw Him transfigured (Matthew 17:1-8) and the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56). There were only the three who were closest to Him in His prayer time in the Garden. Jesus shows me to keep only very few close
Which brings me to the One who called me His friend before I even knew Him.
[Jesus said,]â€œYou are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.â€ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â John 15:14-15 (The Message)
Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, calls me His friend. Let’s stop and think about that using His definition of a friend that are in these verses of John 15. Soak in the love that is all about what is good for me and will lift me even when I am living in this difficult, suffering world. Jesus has already laid down His life for me. And He didn’t stop with that perfect gift.
Take a 3-4 minutes, choose a song, and listen to a song about friendship with Jesus.
I am a Friend of God, written & sung by Israel HoughtonÂ
What a Friend We Have in Jesus, (Joseph Scriven, 1855) sung by Alan JacksonÂ