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A Word for the Week

'Friend'--Webster defines the term as 'one who is attached by affection'.

The Lord would narrow the term 'friend' in John 15:14 to one who follows His commands-- one with whom He communicates as a co-laborer.

Most people in this culture have what they refer to as a 'circle of friends' but as David Jeremiah brings out in his book 'Turning Points with God', the more intimate the relationship the smaller the circle becomes. That was true for Jesus and it will be true for you and me.

It would be correct to say that many of us have acquaintances but relatively few friends. Most only have 1 or 2 human beings in their circle of life that they truly trust with important matters. They may be associated with many BUT are only attached to a few.

Friends are attached through love and trust; acquaintances are more detached. We know who they are, recognize their face, call them by name, even dine with them on occasion BUT are not really 'connected' with them. It's just not the same level of love or loyalty. They're not your enemy by any means but they are not truly your friend either because being a friend involves a deeper level of intimacy and vulnerability. Being a true friend is not always easy and it's seldom neat and tidy. But the truth is, everyone needs a friend who's not afraid to get their hands dirty!

One very wise person once defined a true friend in this way--'a true friend is the person who walks into your life when everyone else is walking out of your life.'

When life gets messy or even miserable--who is there for you that is willing to come alongside you and confront you with truth in love? Who's there to help you up out of a soured attitude that can quickly lead to a severed relationship?

Sin always separates relationships! It destroys intimacy, causing us to be proud and reserved instead of humble and vulnerable. Instead of opening up. we close down and withdraw because confronting in love is often considered too costly!

When sin entered through the disobedience of Adam--enmity (hostility) replaced intimacy with God. BUT GOD; (aren't you thankful there is a 'BUT GOD' throughout scripture?) BUT GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD (you and me) that He gave His one and only Son to pay for sin and bridge the separation of sin. As a consequence, the soul that sold out to Satan through sin could be redeemed by grace and reconciled to God by believing God.

Sin made us an enemy of God BUT salvation makes us a friend of God.

James uses the term 'friend' in his epistle in chapter 2:23 when he penned, "and the scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.' And he was called 'the friend' of God."

God confronted a pagan sinner in his home environment of sinful practices and invited him into a relationship of friendship and fellowship. Abraham believed God. He trusted God and obeyed the Word of God. As a consequence, God walked into his life and called him 'friend'.

God attached Himself to Abraham in love and promised never to leave Him OR lose Him!

Every true friendship requires faith and trust. That's the way it was with God and Abraham. That's the way it is with God and anyone who is willing to be humble and vulnerable today.

Have you a friend in Jesus? Are you a friend like Jesus? We need to be able to say 'yes' to both every day!

Scripture reinforces the thought in Proverbs 18:24.

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

All of us need someone that will 'stick' with us in good times and through the not so good times! All of us need someone that will stand up and confront us with truth in love because they have our best in mind. God did that for Abraham. Jesus does that for anyone who will follow by faith.

Do you need a true friend today? One who will stick with you when you struggle to stand? He will bless you with true friendship IF you are willing to believe.

What a blessing to be attached to Jesus and attached to others through the love of Jesus!

May the Lord bless you in your continuing journey of friendship with Jesus as a co-laborer!

Pastor Keith

1 Corinthians 15:58