“You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14
Ever had a one-way friendship? You know the drill—people who always need a favor but never give anything in return. Every time they come close, you can almost hear that sucking sound as they bring a new set of demands and needs. In these kinds of friendships, there is clearly something missing if you’re looking for the joy of shared friendship.
I’ve often wondered if God ever feels that way about us with our constant barrage of questions, problems, and prayer requests. Of course, He wants us to cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7), and thankfully He stands ready and willing to help (Hebrews 4:16). But if we aspire to be a friend of God, we need to recognize that true friendship with God is a reciprocal deal.
When Jesus talked about friendship, He told the disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). They probably had a hard time getting past the shock of the first part, “You are my friends . . . ” Any good Jew would have known that Abraham and Moses were the only two people in the Old Testament to have been called a “friend” of God. What a distinct privilege! But notice the second part, “if you do what I command.” Jesus made it clear that His true friends would be those who would show their allegiance to Him by doing what He told them to do: “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Jesus proved His friendship when He “laid down His life” for us. Now the question is, what will we do for Him? Although we can never out-give Him or come close to repaying Him, every day we have opportunities to display our friendship with Him when we extend kindness to someone, forgive an offender, and show compassion to the poor and the oppressed.
So, welcome to the privilege of being God’s friend—and the privilege of proving it. After all, true friendship goes both ways!
- In what ways has Jesus proved His friendship toward you? Make a list of things that come to mind, and look for other expressions of His friendship as you go through your day.
- Evaluate your friendship with God. Is it a fair-weather friendship with a few perks thrown in? Or do you feel that it is a privilege and a priority? Be honest!
- How can you express your friendship to Jesus? Are there some habits or routines in your life that need to change in order to prioritize this relationship?