Recently I was at a planning meeting with a group of friends. We went around the table and shared what the Lord had been teaching each of us lately. It varied widely; from books we had read to themes we were studying and experiences we’d had. For some it was a particular ministry we were hoping to start or get more involved with.
Later I thought of the evening and realized that this is a perfect picture of friendship. What do true friends do for one another? They share what’s on their hearts and spur one another on to pursue what God is calling them to, i.e. “love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). That evening I was overwhelmingly refreshed and encouraged by these godly women. I felt connected with them and cared for by them.
We’re told in John 15:14-15 that we are Jesus’ friends if we do what He commands. Does that exclude you and me because we sometimes sin? Not at all! No one follows His commands perfectly but we are His friends when we believe in Him and are seeking and pursuing Him. For many years I was consumed with guilt and my own unworthiness and did not believe this, I thought it meant those other people. How can God consider me a friend when I act like this? But scripture says I am a friend of Jesus Christ. He calls me his friend and I must believe it – because it’s true. We must believe truth. Have you pondered this lately?Scripture says I am a friend of Jesus Christ. He calls me his friend and I must believe it - because it’s true. We must believe truth. Click To Tweet
And what does it mean to be a friend of Jesus?
I thought about the characteristics of a good friend, of the ladies and the conversation around the table that night.
- Good friends open their hearts to you.
- Good friends speak kindly, with words of affection.
- Good friends rejoice in your joy and weep with you in your pain.
- Good friends do not condemn, but may at times need to speak a hard word of truth, in love.
- Good friends remind you of what is true.
- Good friends long to spend time with you.
Unfortunately, I don’t often have experiences like that meeting with my friends. The busyness of our lives prevents us from enjoying many sweet times like these. I once had a delightful bossy friend who had the gift of corralling people and making them do fun things: “Hey, put your kids to bed and let’s all go to a late movie!” Her plans were usually successful and we had great adventures together. After she moved away, my life was not nearly as fun.
Sadly enough, our human friends can never fill all these roles for us because we are selfish, inward-focused and sinful. I am sure I have never been this kind of complete friend to anyone! Let’s be quick to forgive one another when we inevitably let each other down in one or more of these areas. And let’s think about how we can become better friends, ones who spread these blessings to others.
And Praise God – We do have a friend like this in Jesus! He is the perfect friend. He longs to be with us and speak words of encouragement and love to us. He chose us to be His friends even when we hated Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. He is our mediator and our Intercessor. He is praying for us right now! And that is truth to ponder and be grateful for.
Will you and I make time to be with our best friend and Savior today?