Friday, April 4, 2014

A Friend


A Friend -- The Winans

A friend, a friend, a friend, a friend
Friend of mine and yours
Out of all the love in the world
No one could love you more

"I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts."1

"A friend loves at all times..."2

"...but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."3

"And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend."4


As I sit here today, listening to the chirping of birds, the sky is blue and the sun is shining, my thoughts looks to the one friend I know I can always count on…Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I could not have lived this life of mine without friends, but time and distance often make friendship less of a priority; things get in the way of friendships with others. In spite of this obstacle, I’m trying to be a friend to those who know me. I’m learning from Christ what it means to be a friend.

I’m reminded of what Luke wrote in his gospel5 about an expert in the Judaic Law. The man came up to Jesus, asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Their conversation wasn’t so much about learning to do what is important, but an example of self-justification we humans so often are guilty of. Jesus asked the man,

What is written in the Law?...How do you read it?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.

The man’s response revealed that although he knew the letter of the law of God, the spirit of the law had not touched his heart. Jesus told the man,

You have answered correctly...Do this and you will live.

The man then asked, “And who is my neighbor?

We have neighbors of varying types, some good, others not so good. The good neighbors, we consider friends, others fall into another category. Jesus continued talking to this man by revealing the example of the Good Samaritan. In His conclusion, Jesus asked:

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?

The expert in the Law finally answered truthfully from his heart by saying,

The one who had mercy on him.

Jesus didn’t give a long legal explanation of the Law. He simply spoke to the man’s heart and revealed that for all of us, we have an example before us that enables us to follow a pattern which never fails. The beauty in the response of Jesus is revealed in four simple words:

Go and do likewise.

I realize that God would never ask me to be a friend to someone, if He never demonstrated His friendship to me. I don’t have to wonder, Who is my friend? I don’t need to discriminate, pick and choose, or compartmentalize people. It’s not up to others, it’s up to me to be a friend.

What does it mean to be a friend?

A Friend is Unselfish:
Jesus reveals the true example of friendship in the gospel of John:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.6

Ask yourself these questions:
  1. Does God make time for me or is He always too busy?
  2. Is God honest with me even when I don’t want to hear the truth?
  3. Does God love me when I am my most unloving?
These questions cut right to the heart of being a friend because it forces me to look at how selfish I have been toward others. I could offer some plausible explanation as to the circumstances which precipitated my behavior, but the truth is I was a selfish person. I cared more about myself.

Being a friend means giving myself to others, and I don’t simply mean those who are kind to me; that part is very easy. The friendship I speak of is not an easy road to navigate. I’ve encountered some people who have said some of the cruelest, vile, hurtful words to me; some I even considered to be closer than mere friends. What I realize though is that my example of friendship did not instill in others what I truly desired from them; friendship.

Being a friend means being unselfish to others, making time for them; even when it is an inconvenience to me. Being a friend is being honest with others, not just being honest about them, but more importantly, being honest about myself. Being a friend means loving others when they do not share love towards me.

In the coming weeks, I hope to share more on this topic of friendship. I hope you will join me, by sharing your thoughts and experiences. Until then, be blessed.

MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say Thank you, to each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your busy schedule to read a post on this blog encourages me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment, but it really doesn't matter whether a comment is left. What matters, is that you came here. I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Christ in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 119:63, NIV
  2. Proverbs 17:17, NIV
  3. Proverbs 18:24, NIV
  4. James 2:23, NIV
  5. Luke 10:25-37, NIV
  6. John 15:12-14, NIV
Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

5 comments:

Anita Johnson said...

I have experienced the gift of friendship many many times in the last 6 months as I have continued to struggle with my health. It has been an overwhelming show of support and love for my husband and I..."we love because He first loved us", I enjoyed reading this...thank you.

MTJ said...

Anita Johnson: You continue to bless me and so many others by your faith. Even though the past six months have been a difficult road to travel for you, you stand as an example for so many others who struggle themselves. I join with you and others praying that our Lord's grace sufficiently provide you the strength to carry on.

Rozalija Baričević said...

That day when everything seemed futile and wrong, I went away from my family and friends. seeking the best solution for my fears and uncertainty. I found nothing. After returning to my silent house, I collapsed in a chair and cried: "Oh my God, tell me what to do!" I remember my eyes. They were kind of out of my body, misguided view in the dark. My eyes had clearly recognized Jesus, and my heart knew: He was a friend who wordlessly offered a solution:" Love and forgive as I love you and forgive you." My Best Friend taught me humility and patience. His support and love gave me back everything that I thought was lost.

MTJ said...

Rozalija Baričević: Jesus is the true example of the word Friend. His friendship extends beyond a mere word. It is His example which drives the desire in me to be a friend. My prayer is that those know me and those who come to know me recognize that I am worthy of being called a friend. Blessings to you and family.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

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http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/04/tuesdays-sites-to-see_8.html