Everyone has their standards when it comes to friend picking. Even if you don’t think you have any standards, there’s some type of pattern involved. Every developing friendship has it’s certain dos and don’ts as a common respect. You cherish that relationship and don’t compromise it because that’s your friend, your homie, your pal, your home slice, BFF. You cherish your friendships mostly because that’s who you love.
Lately I’ve been thinking about God’s standards for friendship and love. I read the scriptures that show the times leading up to Jesus’ death and see how He was hanging out with His disciples, knowing they would betray Him and deny him. He hung with and befriended people who would not be there at the foot of the cross when He died. They would not come to His rescue or His side in His most important hour. They couldn’t even pray for an hour and keep a lookout for Him no matter how many times He asked. And yet, these were His friends.
Now I know that this example isn’t meant to be used as an excuse to hang with people who will do us wrong because Jesus did it. No, Jesus had an entire perfected plan going on. He knew His mission, He saw straight to the heart of these men. He didn’t just see the denier, He saw the Rock that His church would be built on. He looked at those around Him knowing full and well what their purpose was.
What I am here to do is to ask you to join me today if you will. Come along with me and meditate on the fact that Jesus loved us long before we were anything near to being His friend. Before we ever sang one song to Him in worship, or prayed for someone in need, or led our first Bible Study. When we were cursing everyone out around us, or drowning our sorrows in rivers of wine, He loved us. While we were still His enemy, He loved us. And He doesn’t just love us so He can sit on a holy hill keeping all of His vast plans a complete mystery while we stay groveling on the ground as servants wondering if the Master would have use for us somehow. His love keeps us close to Him in a place of relationship, of friendship. He decided to be the kind of friend that sticks closer than a brother or sister. The kind of friend that would go to the death to prove His love. And as we mediate on this amazing grace, we are thankful that He would love us not only with the love of a father but with a love of a friend.
“13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15 (NIV)
Photo Credit:ID 48802524 © Nyul | Dreamstime.com