On Monday, we noted that in our present world, people are becoming more and more isolated and alone, with fewer people who are friends, or say, "I love you."
Let's look again at part of our focus passage, verses 9 through 12:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my
love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as
I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy
may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have
God created us. He knows the importance of friendship, and so He built the church on that foundation. One of the important functions of the church is to be a place where we can build friendships.
What does a friend look like?
I heard this quote once, and it sounded good to me: “A friend is a person who knows us – and still likes us.”
Proverbs has a lot to tell us about friends:
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (17:17)
who sticks closer than a brother. (18:2)
One of the awesome things about today's world is the ability to look around and find resources that help us make our points sometimes! I thought this story was really appropriate:
“I just came by to see what I could do to help.”
The father replied that there was nothing to do.
“Well,” Rayburn said, “have you had your coffee this morning?”
The man replied that they had not taken time for breakfast. So Rayburn
went to work in the kitchen. While he working on making breakfast, his
friend came in, and said, “Mr. Speaker, I thought you were supposed to be
having breakfast at the White House this morning.”
“Well, I was, but I called the President and told him I had a friend who was
in trouble and I couldn’t come.”
That’s what the Bible means by friendship. To have someone who regards you so highly that they want to be there when you need them.
So Jesus is telling us in this passage that He will be there for us -- we need to be there for each other.
There are other verses that encourage us to be all we can be, for others:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up....
(I Thess. 5:11)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another
above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the
law of Christ.... (Galatians 6:2)
There's just one problem here . . . even when we are trying, even when we are doing our best, even when we have asked the Spirit to help us, we don't always love like we ought to. We can fail -- because we are not God. No matter who we are, and how long we've been servants of God, we sometimes will fail; we won't be there when people need us.
We may be distracted by our own personal problems and schedules. We can be inconsiderate and selfish at times. There are even times when we get our feelings hurt and have a hard time showing love to one another. All of these shortcomings can make it difficult to be the kind of friends, and to show the kind of love, that God desires for us to do.
But it's not impossible!!
Jesus gave us the keys in the verses above: follow His example, learn from Him, and make it our life's goal to be there for each other, since He is there for us. He says He will never leave us or forsake us. And to add to that, He told us:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Peter understood that we might need to be reminded, and he wrote:
Cast all your cares upon Him; because He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)
And here is what Paul wanted us to know:
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died -- more
than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also
interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)
Jesus will never forsake us. He will always care for us. And He is always interceding for us. We will never have an earthly friend like Jesus. He will always be there when we need to talk. He is always there when we need guidance. He will be beside us when life is good, and when days are stormy.
We'll talk more about this tomorrow. Hope you will join us!