Friends come and go in our lives. Friends bring us joy. Sometimes they bring us sorrow. Friends provide encouragement! They are sometimes the source of discouragement. There is one Friend who will never leave you, who will only encourage you and bring you comfort and joy. His name is Jesus Christ.
Let’s read John 15:12-17:
12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17These things I command you, that ye love one another.
One of the most profound, stunning thoughts of life is that Jesus Christ, our Creator our King our Judge our Lord and Savior, the Holy One, offers us His friendship. What a privilege! What an honor!
Have you ever been to an event at which where a famous person whom you wanted to meet was present? Have you ever thought. “I’d like to meet him/her? Have lunch with them? Become their friend.” Then have you thought, “Forgedaboudit! He’s not interested.”? That is what makes this offer of friendship so amazing. How do we tap into that? How do we transition from an intellectual awareness of this friendship to a genuine experience of it?
From John 15:12-17 we will walk through six steps of cultivating an experiential, real friendship with Jesus.
Friendships only thrive when we share things in common. Want to get close to Jesus?
- Love people
- Sacrifice for others
- Care about others’ needs
This means that life is no longer about me but about Jesus and others.
Deep friendship cannot be had without trust. Everyone has been let down by others, and everyone has let others down. Confidences have been shaken and violated.
Those who trust Jesus never have reason to be disappointed! (1 Peter 2:21-25)
“[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Practice the presence of Jesus. He has promised to never leave or forsake you (Joshua 1:5). This means you need to live in vertical mode. Approach every moment as an opportunity to think, speak, and behave in a Christ-like way.
(Psalm 15 and Psalm 19:9, 12) By nature we are all enemies of God (Colossians 1:21; Ephesians 2:1-4; 11-17). We must be reborn and reconciled to Christ. This is accomplished only by grace through faith in His finished work on the cross. Christ purifies and cleanses us completely and eternally (Acts 15:9; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But in this world we still get our hands dirty. We must be regularly confess and forsake our sin (Isaiah 1:16; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Timothy 2:21; James 4:8; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 3:3). Sin always builds a barrier in any relationship.
To be consecrated is to be dedicated to and for something, or, in this case, to Someone. We are to be dedicated for the purpose of leading holy lives. Jesus says, “You are my friends, if you do what I command.”
“Lord, what is it You want me to do? OK, I’ll do it. Oh, that’s really hard. Forgive that enemy? OK, I’ll do it, because You’re my friend. Your commandments are not burdensome. In fact, they are good for me.”
I’m talking about consecrated obedience and conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ.
(John 14:1-3) Live in anticipation of when we will finally be with Him face-to-face! The early believers longed to see Jesus (Philippians 1:23). So should we. As great as our friendship with Christ may be now, it will never be all it can be until we are with Him “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Live every day in anticipation of being with Jesus. Live every day becoming more and more like Jesus. Be forever grateful for the fact that Jesus is our Friend. Cultivate that friendship.
Are you Christ’s friend?