“Now you are my friends.”
Just recently, when getting ready to re-start our summer youth Bible studies, I came across this website: Link
I won’t list all 74 quotes, and there certainly were other websites with even far more, but I wanted to share a few that I enjoyed and that seemed appropriate for our devotion today. Take a peek.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
– Walter Winchell
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
– C.S. Lewis
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
— Dale Carnegie
“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
– Zig Ziglar
“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.”
– Ed Cunningham
When asking a student how they would describe a friend, if they could only use the six letters of the world “friend” itself, they devised the below.
Each of us has a sense of what is a true friend—what we value in a friend & what we long to have in our friendships. A good friend of mine once offered, “Sometimes a good friend knows how to pat us on the back (affirm us & encourage us) & other times knows how to boot us in the backside. (hold us accountable & love us with accountability & honest talk)
In my walk with Christ, I seem to be constantly trying to define what our relationship ought to be, should be or maybe could be. Is Jesus my Savior? Is He my Lord? Is He the Christ…the Messiah…the Anointed? Is Jesus my Redeemer?
In John 15, verses 9-17, I discover Jesus has already taken the initiative & defined the relationship He seeks.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other."
The passage is filled with so much, poignant in so many ways, but in the midst of it did you see it?
Along the journey of call, or seeker, to one being discipled & following, to being one who desires obedience & being pleasing to Him, I discover that Jesus has already defined our relationship. We are friends.
Yes, there is a symbiosis to the friendship, a sense of wanting to be pleasing & pursuing, but in the midst of my wanting to raise or elevate Jesus as my Lord and my God, Jesus seems to be in the business of lifting me up into relationship. You see, it’s hard to have a relationship with a King. It’s difficult to have a relationship with a God. And it’s near impossible to have a relationship with One who is the Creator of all things. Each is too BIG, too lofty, way too above me and so NOT who I am. BUT, it is possible to have a relationship with a friend, and that is what Jesus affirms as He lays down His life for us, as we receive His confidence & appointment. We remember that HE has chosen US, and we can be confident in His choosing.
So, now that we see the model of Jesus’ friendship, let us too seek to be the friend that others need in us. Let us not wait until they seek us out, or until they “measure up” (whatever that means & praise God that Jesus didn’t wait for US to measure up!) but let us seek them out, minister to them, draw alongside and actually BE the friend they need. They may not immediately appreciate your initiative, we certainly in many ways at one time did not appreciate Jesus’, but someday as you remain steady, faithful & consistent, not out for reward or done out of pity, you may have the fortune & confidence of their friendship. Like Christ calls us to be good neighbors, let us also be good friends.
Take a look again at the quotes above. Read the scripture passage. See how you might be ministered to, see how you might be inwardly challenged. Who might they be? They might be right in front of you, seeing you many times a week, or you might ask Christ to show you who needs a friendship such as His in their life and how you might be His conduit of love & friendship to them.
Take great joy in knowing Jesus is your friend. Now go and be likewise to another.
Blessings to you each!