Friday, February 3, 2012

He Calls Us Friends

"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15, NKJV

I am going to speak this weekend at our church on the value that God places on friendships, so naturally I've been thinking about it all week.

I have always appreciated the depth and complexity of this passage of scripture because friendships tend to be complicated relationships. Jesus touched on a number of the components of friendships with His disciples. Here he is talking about the difference between relationships of convenience—the ones that by nature are surface level, and relationships of commitment—the ones that have depth to them.

If someone is a servant then the relationship is built around an assignment or a task. You perform this service for me, and while you are doing it I can be friendly to you, but it's all surface level. Don't get me wrong, it's not phony, it's real, but there is just not much depth to it. Now being friendly is a great trait, but that's not being a friend—the two things are miles apart.

Being friendly is just a trait, being a friend is when you begin to invest your life into the life of someone else. It's NOT something you do; rather it's someone you become. Being friendly is an adjective, but being a friend is a noun. Which brings us to the point of today's devotional. It seems that a person can go through their whole life playing the role of an adjective and miss out at becoming the noun, or person, that God created them to be! God did not make any of us to live our lives with only surface level relationships.

According to Jesus, the first step is to go a little deeper, to open up and share a little more than you would otherwise. One of the key phrases in this passage is “I have made known to you…” In other words, Jesus is saying, I’ve shared with you more than I’ve shared with anyone else. This is a great first step in developing solid friendships. It starts out by sharing more than just a task together; it starts when you begin to share your heart with one another. But that’s going to take time, it’s going to take space, and it’s going to take effort. Effort to slow down enough and to re-prioritize your time. And at times it’s just flat going to take a lot of work—because friendships don’t just happen on their own, they require an investment of your heart and your time. They need to be nurtured, cultivated and developed over time. But having what I would call healthy God-honoring, God-ordained friendships are awesome.

I believe that if we ask God to help us with this, that He will. You see friends are very important to the quality of our lives. We had a youth minister who used to tell our kids, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” But you could actually take that thought one step further and say it like this, “show me your friends, and I’ll show you your present.” What do we mean by that? Well, it’s quite easy to see that a person who has quality friends has a quality life.

Friends will listen to you when others turn you away. They’ll encourage you when you’re down. They’ll give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it. They’ll even give you a boot to the butt when you need that more! Friends believe in you when others don’t. Friends will stand with you when others run away. Friends are a gift from God!

So, when was the last time you called your friends just to thank them for being your friend? Today, why not give them a call, shoot them an email, go out and buy them a cup of coffee and tell them how much you thank God for their friendship. Then take a minute and remind yourself of the best friend any of us could ever have—Jesus Christ! The One who no longer calls us His servants, but His friends! Enjoy your day.

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