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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Friendship

I Samuel Chapter 18 1-4, tells us the story about the friendship between David and Jonathon. Bible Gateway.com is a wonderful resource that has all sorts of information that is Biblically related. Matthew Henry has this commentary about this relationship.
“The friendship of David and Jonathan was the effect of Divine grace, which produces in true believers one heart and one soul, and causes them to love each other. This union of souls is from partaking in the Spirit of Christ. Where God unites hearts, carnal matters are too weak to separate them. Those who love Christ as their own souls, will be willing to join themselves to him in an everlasting covenant. It was certainly a great proof of the power of God's grace in David, that he was able to bear all this respect and honor, without being lifted up above measure. (1Sam 18:6-11)”
Can you imagine having that kind of relationship with someone? You probably have had them in your lives. Me, not so much. Saul was Jonathon’s father who wanted to kill David but Jonathon looked past that fact and remained friends with David, and even went out to the desert to warn him of the men who were coming to get him. Wow! What a friend! Mr. Henry had it right for sure.
There are many, many stories of friendship throughout the Bible where it mentions friendships and how intrinsic they were to the believer’s lives. I can imagine during the three years of Jesus’ ministry on earth that the disciples and the women had amazing friendships with each other. That is a lot of time to spend together, day in and day out. Often, Jesus went to eat and drink with people and built relationships with others and made friends. And the disciples went along with Him. They all travelled together, ate together, sang together, worshipped together, worked together and I can almost feel the brotherly and sisterly love felt by all together. I can imagine the camaraderie shared by all. Most of the stories in the New Testament mentions them all being together, as far as I can tell anyway.
But there was no friendship like the one mentioned in John 19:25-27, which says, “While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus' mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.” To me that speaks volumes. Not only did Jesus look after Mary, who needed to be taken care of, but He chose John to do that for Him. Why did He pick John to do that for Him? In the Bible it says that John was part of Jesus’ innermost circle. He loved John. A lot. John must have been a pretty decent guy to have around. Jesus knew John well enough to know that he would be a good caregiver to her. But to call him to be her new “son”?? Wow, that is true trust and love between two people.

John 15:12-17 says this, “12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I 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. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.
God chose us to be His friends. He created us to be His friends, and to be friends with one another. As the saying goes, no man is an island. We were meant to be fellowshipping together on a regular basis. In the book of Acts, They had a prayer meeting for I am told it was days. They fellowshipped together, they grew in numbers daily and the Holy Spirit came upon them and 3000 people got baptized. Given the persecution they suffered at the time, I can imagine that it was a great place to be. A place of refuge, peace and excitement. Yeah they suffered but they had strength not only in their bonds with one another but because God gave them the faith and strength to persevere during the hard times. Now I am not saying that we should all give up our lives and become like some weird commune where we share everything like they did, but it sure gives an excellent example of true fellowship.
Ask yourself this. What kind of friend am I? Am I willing to be a friend no matter what? Do I reach out and just be there when a friend needs me? Am I a shoulder to cry on? Would I lay down my life for a friend of mine? Do I cheer when a friend of mine accomplishes something great in their life? Or does the green eyed monster get the better of me and resent them for being successful? Do I forgive when someone I love hurts me? Do I apologize and ask for forgiveness when I am the one doing the hurting? Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Do we do that for each other? I like to try and be an encouragement to each other because we have more than enough discouragement in the world. It doesn’t always work out that way because I’m human and mess up. I wonder what the result of us encouraging each other would be on this world. Instead of accusing, judging and being critical toward each other, and instead loved each other like Jesus commands us to do, would people want to be friends with us? Would they see something different in us and want that for their own lives? Think of the impact we could have on our community we could have. We are an example of Christ and I think Paul?? said it best when he said that he was an ambassador of Christ. When people see us and know we’re a Christian, they watch us all the more closely to see how we react to things and how we live our lives. That is I think a good starting ground in reaching the lost for the Lord. If they see an authentic real person who loves as the Bible says we should love; then it will make the Gospel even more appealing, don’t you think? All for the Glory of God.

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