I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. ~John 15:15
In the last few weeks my friend group has been activated to help with some crisis situations and advice, counsel and physical presence was needed. It’s good to know that friends ‘have your back.’ And even if they can’t actively help, just pouring out your soul on a phone call can soothe the spirit.
Friendship is a beautiful thing. God, in His infinite wisdom, has created us for relationship and friendship is one of the sweetest kinds. Friends are family that we choose ourselves. I would have thought there would be more about friendship in the Bible, but it is surprisingly silent on the subject. There are a few good verses to be sure, and of course, the famous friendship of David and Saul’s son Jonathan. My guess is that God’s plan is for us to love everyone, even our enemies, with an abundant, sacrificial love which covers ALL human relationships.
In fact, right before the verse from John 15 above, Jesus talks about love and friendship:
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
So, our human relationships should mirror to our relationship with Jesus. If we have a friend in Jesus, that relationship should look a lot like our earthly friendships and vice-versa.
- FRIENDS GET TOGETHER REGULARLY
One of the challenges of friendship is staying in touch. Facebook, Zoom, email and cell phones have made this much easier these days, but you still have to intentionally make the time to do it. There will always be something competing for your attention. With Jesus, though, it’s even easier to have a chat. Any time can be prayer time: doing laundry, in the car, at the gym. But be sure to make a special time each day for a heart-to-heart talk where you listen for Jesus’ response.
And just as you might hesitate to contact a friend you’ve been out of touch with for a while, you might think Jesus will be mad that it’s been so long since you’ve prayed. He won’t. He’s been waiting and looking forward to your call. Do it today.
- FRIENDS CARRY EACH OTHERS’ BURDENS
Friends are a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to laugh with, an arm to lean on, or a companion when loneliness threatens. Good friends will even help you move! Or help plan your Mom’s funeral, be at your bedside in the hospital, help build your deck, or drop by with a casserole when you ‘can’t even.’ Jesus won’t swing a hammer, but he can swing some pretty miraculous resolutions to your cares and worries and problems. And he really, really wants to:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:7
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. ~Psalm 68:19
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. ~Galatians 6:2
We were not made to ‘do life’ alone. We were created to be dependent on others to teach us how to be dependent on God. Sharing our burdens is the only way to endure.
- FRIENDS ARE HONEST WITH EACH OTHER
A good friend tells you there is spinach in your teeth. A great friend will point out your character flaw or unresolved sin. Proverbs 27:6 tells us “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” It’s hard to hear the truth, which is why it should only be told ‘in love.’ Like a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down, a cup of love helps us to absorb the hard truth about ourselves. But that is how we mature. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27:17
Jesus is also in the honesty business. He wants us to be the best we can be, so there is truth, discipline and pruning. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 And Proverbs 3:11-12:
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
And He expects us to be honest with Him and each other: “If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:15-16
Thank God for friendship! And thank God for the friend we have in Jesus!
Blessings of Friendship,