Many of us are familiar with the old hymn penned by Joseph Scriven, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” One of the lines in the last verse is, “Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?” After singing this recently, a sister was questioning the above words. “Surely,” she thought, “If a person despises or forsakes someone, they are not a true friend!” The Lord revealed to her that this is the way of all humanity, apart from the grace of God in our lives. Have we always been a faithful friend? Have we never been guilty of despising or forsaking someone?…even if it was in thought alone, or thoughtlessness. In our humanity we have all failed at some stage, but there is a Friend we have who never fails. His name is Jesus.
James 2:23 “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” God called him “Friend” with a capital “F”!…..and we are the seed of Abraham! How amazing that we can become, and be called, the Friend of God, even though we have been unfaithful and failed many times, God still wants us as His Friends!
As we look in the New Testament now, Jesus defines how we can become His friends. He instructs: (John 15:14), “You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.” A simple instruction that can only be done in humility and surrender, then He calls me His friend! Jesus died that I might live, I must die (surrender to Him) that His life may live through me….the indwelling, resurrected Christ comes forth in a practical, daily expression in demonstration from a surrendered life.
John 15:12-16 continues on the line of friendship, “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I do not call you servants, for the servant does not know what his Lord does, but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.
16 You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
I AM THE CHOICE OF GOD!
Take note that in verse 14 above, there is a little word inserted – IF. Terms and conditions apply!
Our spiritual journey begins when we are “born again” into the Kingdom of God. Our ongoing journey produces many hurdles to overcome on route. We soon discover that in our own strength, we fail the tests, in spite of our zeal to do the right thing. We soon discover that there is only one way we can live this Christian life: Surrender, in the words of Jesus, “Nevertheless, not my will, Father, but Thine be done.” As I lay my will down, the life of the resurrected Christ comes forth in me, enabling me to do His will: Christ in me, the hope of glory. The credit/glory is all God’s. As we receive pardon and grace from the Lord Jesus, it is right that we give it to others. Enjoy it, revel in it, but give it to others lavishly as we have received it, not by the thimbleful!
Jesus said, John 12:24 “…Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.” Every day we have a choice to “die daily” in surrendering our will to the Lord, that the life of Christ may come forth in a living demonstration that deals with every negative thought and action to those we live and move amongst. When we set our believing right in our heart according to the word of God, confess with our mouth, (Romans 10:8-11) then the resurrected life of Jesus manifests in us enabling us to do His commandments, and He calls us His friends. We may fail Him many times on our onward journey, but He holds no record of wrongs, no unforgiveness towards us. He is our living Hope, that stirs our hearts, encourages us on, replaces our failure with His victorious life as we continue to learn and yield to His divine River of Life that removes all the blockages in its flow.
Our faithful Friend, our greatest Friend – O mighty Christ, come forth in me!