“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:12–17, NASB)
As a former Army Brat, there are people all around the world that I call friends. Suppose one of us said, “I’ll call you my friend, if you do exactly what I say.”
Say what, now?!
If I had heard that, I’d have quickly moved on to look for a less demanding friend. If I had said that, I’d be pretty lonely.
However, if someone told me, “If you love others, I’ll call you my friend,” it would maybe sound like some weird initiation or something and it wouldn't seem like too big of a deal—at first.
But loving people can be hard and take a lot of energy. Try as we might, sometimes, we may not even want to love a particular person. So what to do? You really want to be this person’s friend, but it’s going to be a bit more challenging than you had bargained for.
Our Friend, Jesus, calls us to do this.
The good news, is that He doesn’t leave us to our own devices and will power (or lack thereof) to conjure up love to show others. He chose us and He chose us for this. 1 John 4:19 says that “We love, because He first loved us.”
We’re equipped to love others because God lavished His love on us first. As our friendship with God deepens, so can our love for Him. Out of that overflow, we’re able to love others, fulfilling Jesus’s command.
God is the ultimate Friend. He demonstrated this by sending His Son to die on the cross for my sins—long before I chose Him. Because God couldn’t stand being separated from me for all eternity, Jesus laid down His life. As Jesus conquered death, He was cut off from God’s love. As the mother of a toddler boy, I cannot even imagine the agony of that separation for either—albeit temporary.
As the Ultimate Friend, God wants to see me thrive, flourish and bear lasting fruit. He wants to give me good things—great things! I admittedly often fail at being a good friend to God, not pulling my weight in the relationship. My time investment isn’t what it can and should be. Thankfully, God’s grace abounds, and my Best Friend is always ready to revitalize our friendship and deepen it more than ever before.
Warmly in Christ,
“We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:19–21, NASB)
God tells us to love our brothers (and sisters). How could you be showing more of God’s love to someone who is hard for you to love?
If your friendship with God isn’t as close as it used to be, what can you do to get back on track?