“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 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. 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 whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.” – John 15:12-17
Our relationship with God is the point of origin and the source of all other relationships. He laid down His life for us and chose us to be His friends. Wow, isn’t that amazing the Savior of the world wants to be ‘friends’ with us? What are our responsibilities in that relationship? What are our responsibilities in having other relationships? For starters in every relationship of life, there are not only the two of us present; it requires a third person is present–the Lord Jesus Christ. But regardless of the other party whether spouse, child, family, friend, we have a responsibility to put others first, even IF they are not following Christ! BUT where does that leave me? What about ME? What about MY needs? Who is going to take care of MY emotional needs? Who is going to help ME? Why do I have to put others before ME? What did Jesus do in His relationships? “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24 Yes, His example to us is that HE put others needs first.
What does Jesus want me to do with or for this other person? I need to set aside my desires, wants, and feelings for this other person and to obey what Jesus would have me do. It’s an attitude of service. In having an attitude of service, you will be the participant who will receive the greatest blessing in this life apart from your love relationship with Christ. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13
What do you want in a friendship relationship? We all desire a ‘true friendship’, but what is that exactly? A good, healthy friendship involves you are supporting one another, acting as a sounding board for each other. Good friends don’t act negatively towards one another. Good friends care for one another, and keep secrets between each other, spend time helping each other overcome adversity. Good friendships are relationships that make both people feel good about themselves. Even though a friendship needs to be worked on as much as any relationship, a good friendship doesn’t feel like work. True friendship is about love, acceptance and forgiveness. It’s loving each other no matter what the circumstances are in each others lives. It doesn’t walk away when you don’t agree with what the other person is doing. True friends lasts the tests of time. It is also about trusting each other. But what happens when a so-called friend offends or hurts us? When we are offended by someone whom we trusted to not hurt us. We also open the door to a root of bitterness in our heart, which hinders our ability to hear from God and, again, prevents God’s power from flowing in our lives. True friendship requires forgiveness. It is one of the most important ingredients in relationships. People fall short; they hurt us; they mistreat us. We must forgive them. In Mark 11:25, Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
We all need friends. We need friends that will hold us accountable to God’s standards — friends that sharpen us. “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].” (Proverbs 27:17, AMP) We need people in our lives who will love us where we are and help us get to a place of higher living.
In an article from Dr. Michael Youssef he states, “Abiding love is what lies at the heart of the Christian life. When questioned about the greatest commandment, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…. (And) love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
In the Gospel of John, love is the basis by which we attract others to the Gospel. Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
The relationships we develop with fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have far greater meaning and depth than we are able to comprehend with our finite minds. When we understand the eternal longevity of godly relationships, then we will cherish and value these relationships even more — and they will enhance our relationship with our Heavenly Father.”
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13
Take time to consider your friendships that you have or don’t have today. Do you have any friends who sharpen you and challenge you to be wiser and better? Is there anyone in your life who asks you tough questions, shares godly truths, and confronts you when you need to be confronted? Are you that kind of friend to anyone? If you have been hurt in the past, forgive and move on and then pray for God would bring meaningful friendships to your life.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 – 10, NIV)
Helen Keller said it simply beautiful: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”
True friendship it’s simply beautiful by God’s design!