By Chris WittsSunday 12 May 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Yesterday I talked about the value of friendship,and today I want to take it another step further by saying a real friend is a rare gift. When he lay dying,the Greek philosopher Aristotle apparently said “0 my friends,there is no friend”. The Greeks of his day valued friendship in a way we know nothing about. It was a sad statement by him,that after all his years of sharing,he did not have a single friend.
Why is it? Is it because we use the word “friend” too freely? We meet a person once,and immediately they are our friend. Probably the word “friend” has become confused with the Word “acquaintance”. A friend is a special person who understands you,shares your hopes and sorrows,and knows you through and through,and loves you anyway. The Celtic Christians were encouraged to find a soul friend,a person with whom nothing was hidden and still loved and accepted you.
I wonder if true friendship is a rare privilege… to have just one trustworthy,good and accepting friend is a precious gift. Women tend to have more friends than men. Even though men join clubs and spend time together,often the conversation is kept only at surface level. Yet it’s obvious we all want to have good and valuable friends. Many of the popular TV shows are all about a group of friends who live through the ups and downs of life,and we watch with eager expectation.
And into our world Jesus comes with His words. “This is my commandment,that you love one another as I have loved you. No one had greater love than this,to lay down his life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer,because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you my friends”. In this wonderful Scripture verse,we see that Jesus counts us as one of His friends. if we do what He commands. What is that? To love one another. We love because God has first loved us,and this love needs to be shared. That’s what it’s all about. The ability to love,as Christ calls us to do,is
a fruit,the result of our friendship with Him.
Jesus said “I do not call you servants”. The servant or slave in His day could never have been a friend with the master – in Greek law he was a living tool,something you use. The master never shared his life with the slave. His only task was to obey the master’s every command. But Jesus says “I don’t call you slaves – I call you friends”. One Bible scholar describes it as Jesus saying “we shall be friends,you and I. No more of this ‘I up here and you down there’. You’re the object of my affection”. This is radical thinking indeed… We are friends with Christ – not mates or buddies but something more profound. Jesus says “I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father”. We are completely known to each other.
Our friendship with Jesus can grow every day into something rich and beautiful. Christ with us,we with Christ,and Christ in us. It comes from being together with Him,living with Him,spending time with Him. It’s all about abiding in the presence of God. Jesus said in John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me,abide in my love”.