Powerful Friends

I once irritated a very serious Christian. (OK, I’ve irritated more than one serious Christian but let’s just deal with one at a time.) I irritated this brother in Christ by referring to my relationship with God as a friendship. “You shouldn’t be so casual about the Almighty God of the Universe! You need to be more careful about referring to your relationship with Him as a friendship!” he scolded. Truthfully, I hate being scolded, it unnerves me so I replied defensively, “Well, it wasn’t MY idea to be friends, it was His!”

While it’s sadly true that too many believers treat God more like a buddy than the Lord of their lives, it was His radical notion to become friends with us and He’s pretty emphatic about it. In John 15: 12-15, Jesus tells His disciples “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

I’m certain that Jesus wasn’t talking about a Face book type of friendship. Casual friendship. Acquaintance friendship. I’m sure Jesus didn’t lay down his life for us so we could exchange cards at Christmas. The friendship He offers us requires total commitment on both sides.

Recently I read “Fireflies in December”, a novel set in Virginia in 1932 that tells the story of the friendship between a young white girl named Jessilyn and a black girl named Gemma. When Gemma’s parents are killed in a fire, Jessilyn’s family takes her in as their own, thus making themselves the target of the local Klan. The friendship between these girls is deep, loyal and beneficial not only to them but also to the greater society. Engaging in that friendship put their lives and other relationships in jeopardy.

Jesus willingly put his life in jeopardy to befriend us. He laid down His life for us. What are we willing to lay down for Him? Our lives? Our schedules? Our prejudice against others? Our selfish ambitions? Our anger? Our misconceptions about God? Our need for total control?

True friendship runs deep. True friendship crosses boundaries and breaks through barriers. True friends are loyal, confide in one another and believe in one another. True friends know the truth about each other and they speak the truth to one another. True friendship benefits the friends and enriches the world around them.

The friendship Jesus offers runs deep, crosses boundaries and breaks through barriers. Jesus is loyal, He wants to confide in you (Psalm 25:14) and He believes in you because He knows exactly who you are. Jesus knows the whole truth about you and speaks the whole truth to you. Friendship with Jesus benefits you and enriches the world around you.

This week is not about bunnies or eggs or floral dresses or new shoes. This week is about the Creator of the Universe crossing cosmic boundaries and laying everything down to save our souls. And He did not orchestrate this salvation to become our master but to offer us the friendship of a lifetime, the heart union our souls crave, the bread of life in the form of a relationship that does not enslave but liberates.

My friend laid down His life for me and this week I remember all he endured to pay a debt that was mine to pay. I will honor Him by laying down my schedule to spend time with Him, to listen to Him, to know His heart. I will lay down everything I have against others to see the world through His eyes. I will lay down my selfish ambition to be open to His plan for my life.

In this world, people covet the fortune of having powerful friends. You have an invitation of friendship from the Master of the Universe. Grab hold of it this week. Go deeper with it. Revel in it. Cling to it. Proclaim it to the world.

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    The Conversation

  1. Lori, this brought tears to my eyes, and I promise it wasn’t just because of the Fireflies reference! I, too, cherish the Lord as my friend, my everything. Thanks for reminding us all of the immensity of having a friend who gave His all for us.

  2. Great post. I have always thought that should be the type of relationship we have with God – a deep friendship, yet one that is real enough that you can share your feelings, hurts, anger or just laugh with Him.

    Thanks for sharing.