One of the many things the Bible is, is a book on friendship…friendship among people and friendship with God.
Definition of friend
- one attached to another by affection or esteem
- one that is not hostile Is he a friend or an enemy?
10 If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have spoken these things to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you .
The life of love produces joy. Christ had it first as the result of doing the Father’s will perfectly and enjoying His love. Love and joy may be partial at first, but the goal is to be full, leaving no room for fear or dissatisfaction.
Verse 11 says: 11 I have spoken these things to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
When things are going well, we feel good. When hardships come, we can sink into depression. But true joy transcends these waves of circumstance. Joy comes from the consistent friendship with Jesus. When our lives are intertwined with His, He will help us walk through adversity without sinking into debilitating lows and manage prosperity without moving into deceptive highs. The joy of living with Jesus daily keeps us levelheaded no matter how low or high our circumstances are.
Verse 12 says: 12 This is My commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you…This is the 11th Commandment. Certainly, the Christian who stands with Christ ought to get along with other believers. Love for your brother is a mark of a disciple. Now Jesus calls His disciples “friends,” He calls us friends!
His death on the cross proved His love them and for us.
Verse 13 says: 13 Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Paul tells us in:
6 While we were yet weak, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Rarely for a righteous man will one die. Yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Matthew Henry said:
“We were without strength, in a sad condition; and, which is worse, altogether unable to help ourselves out of that condition—lost, and no visible way open for our recovery—our condition deplorable, and in a manner desperate; and, therefore our salvation is here said to come in due time. God’s time to help and save is when those that are to be saved are without strength, that his own power and grace may be the more magnified…”
We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to practice sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, giving. Think of someone in particular who needs this kind of love today…be a friend….
John 15:15 says: 15 I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends,
Because Jesus is Lord and Master, He should call us servants, but instead He calls us friends. How comforting and reassuring to be chosen as Christ’s friends.
Friends love each other and help each other. The obedience Christ asks of us is not that of a slave or servant, but as a friend. Because we are His friends and abide in Him, we know His will and share His mysteries.
What does it mean to be a friend of God?
It’s like a child who becomes an adult and begins to relate to their dad or mom like a friend, but they still treat them with honor and respect.
So, it is with your heavenly Father—in the infant stages of faith you cannot fathom friendship until you mature through the basic applications of: submission to God, trust in Jesus, obedience to Jesus, fear of God, and love of God and love of people.
Once we relate to our heavenly Father in holy surrender, dependence, and belief, we are in a position to engage Him as a friend.
Do you enjoy this level of intimacy with Jesus?
Is your friendship with Him a healthy mixture of laughter and joy, weeping and grief, encouragement and accountability and confession and forgiveness?
Friendship with Jesus means access to grace and truth that’s revealed in His word. Your qualification for friendship has the benefit of His blessing. When you are known as a friend of God you can be assured you will be labeled as an enemy of evil. Friends of God cannot be friends with both the world and heaven.
There is a loyalty to faith and following the Lord that comes with friendship. It is an honor and privilege not to be taken lightly—indeed; it gives us credibility in our Christian life.
Friendship comes with a history of faithful service to Jesus; not with a flippant attitude but one of awe.
Remember Christ chose you first. You didn’t chose Him.
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that the Father may give you whatever you ask Him in My name.
Jesus made the first choice – to love us, to die for us, to offer us eternal life. What a friend!! The next choice is yours….
Being friends with the world instead of friends with God (and you can’t be both) will only bring sadness and darkness….
3 You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions. 4“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity (hatred) against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God”
There is nothing wrong with wanting a pleasurable life. God gives us good gifts that he wants us to enjoy. However, friendship with the world is seeking pleasure at others’ expense or at the expense of obeying God. Pleasure that keeps us from pleasing God is sinful; pleasure in God’s rich bounty is good.
Matthew Henry said:
“Sinful desires and affections stop prayer; and the working of our desires toward God…If we seek things of this world, it is just in God to deny them.”
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, the world therefore hates you.
By being friends with God the people of the world will hate you and try to destroy you. Only through the grace of God and the friendship of Jesus Christ are we protected from worldly dangers. Only through the friendship with God can our prayers be answered…. only through the Light of Jesus Christ can that darkness be driven away…so make friends with Jesus today.
Happy and content are those who can genuinely say they are a friend of God.
Your heavenly friendship is best nurtured by humble submission to God. It grows as you relax in His presence and really learn to enjoy being with Him, listening to His heart and learning what it means to be a loving friend. Friends of God look forward to being blessed by their best friend as they spend time with Him.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, about my “Prayer Walk” at our church retreat…. I was truly walking with my friend Jesus… You too can walk with Him as friends…. Just believe in Him and accept Him as Lord, Savior, and friend…
Friendship with God’s isn’t always easy. Just look at Job…
Throughout all of his trials and miseries (lost his wealth, his family, his health) he still could praise God and remember the good things God did for him.
1Moreover Job continued his discourse:2 “Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me; 3 when His lamp shone upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness; 4 as I was in the days of my autumn youth, when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent; 5 when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me; 6 when my steps were bathed in butter, and the rock poured out rivers of oil for me!
Job is contrasting his former prosperity with his present misery, through God’s withdrawing from him.
“A gracious soul delights in God’s smiles, not in the smiles of the world…” That was Job….
Four things were very pleasant to Job. 1 – The confidence he had in the Divine protection; 2 – The enjoyment he had of the Divine favor; 3 – The communion he had with the Divine word. & 4 – The assurance he had of the Divine presence….
Even though God challenged Job severely, God was still his friend and Job knew it.
We can all have these same joys as Job if we are with Jesus…
In closing I’m going back to the Old Testament to show God has always been a friend.
16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will indeed bless you and I will indeed multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens and as the sand that is on the seashore. Your descendants will possess the gate of their enemies.
Thus, the faith of Abraham was a working faith. And by this means you come to the true sense of that scripture which said, Abraham believed God. And thus, he became the friend of God. Faith, producing such works, endeared him to the divine Being, and advanced him to very peculiar favors and intimacies with God. It is a great honor done to Abraham that he is called and counted the friend of God.
8 But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, My friend. 9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, “You are My servant;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
God calls Israel His own because of His wonderful friendship with Abraham. He chose Israel, and they had the assurance that God would be with them.
God considers us friends when we give ourselves to Him as He gives Himself to us. When we are God’s friends, we know He is always there when we need Him.
Do you consider God your friend? Are you as devoted to Him as He is to you?
Although God chose the Israelites to represent Him to the world, they failed to do this. So, God punished them and sent them into captivity. Now ALL believers are God’s chosen people, and all share the responsibility of representing Him to the world.
God will one day bring all His faithful people together. We need not fear, because (1) God’s presence is with us (“I am with you”), (2) God has established a relationship with us (“I am your God”), and (3) God’s assurance of strength, help, and victory over sin and death are certain, (The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.)
22 Do you see how faith worked with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 The Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.
Christ says to his disciples, I have called you friends. Everything between God and the truly believing soul can be easy, pleasant, and delightful. There is one will and one heart, and there is a mutual satisfaction. God rejoices over those who truly believe, to do them good; and they delight themselves in him.
To be a friend of God is a blessing and an honor. For those who call Him friend are friends indeed….