Friday, October 14, 2011

I Call You Friends

In the Gospel of John 15:15, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

How often do you think of Jesus as your friend? I have to admit that I do not often think of Him in those terms. I think of Him as my Lord, my Savior, my Advocate, my Redeemer but not as my friend. Yet, He tells us that he calls us His friends.

A Franciscan gentleman had this insightful thought about the Jesus/friend relationship:

“Do you ever reflect upon the fact that Jesus feels proud of you? Proud that you accepted the faith which He offered you? Proud that after He chose you, you chose Him for a friend and Lord? Proud that you haven’t given up? Proud that you believe in Him enough to try again and again? Proud that you trust that He can help you? Do you ever think that Jesus appreciates you for wanting Him, for waning to say no to so many things that would separate you from Him? Do you ever think that Jesus is grateful to you for pausing to smile and comfort one of His children who has great need to see a smile, to feel a touch? Do you ever think of Jesus being grateful to you for learning more about Him so you can speak to others more deeply and truly about Him? Do you ever think that Jesus can be angry or disappointed in you for not believing that He has forgiven you totally? Because Jesus calls us His friends, there is the possibility of every feeling and emotion which can exist between friends to exist here and now between Jesus and you.”

Perhaps we never stop to contemplate Jesus being proud and grateful for us because we are always trying to earn His favor by our works, our actions, our words instead of just abiding in Him and His love as He tells us to do.

I have often found in my own walk that I am always stationed somewhere between pride and self-pity. There is always that toggle going on internally and truth be told, Jesus does not want us on either end of the spectrum. He wants us right in the middle where we are neither prideful nor loathing ourselves but resting in Him. I do not pretend that this is easy as we deal with the ups and downs of our own spiritual successes and shortcomings but maybe, just maybe Jesus expects more failure from us than we do of ourselves. I am reminded of Peter who after denying the Lord three times went back to fishing. He was done. He had given up the faith. He was a failure. And then the Lord met him on the shore, made him breakfast and asked him three times if He loved Him. Three times to show Peter that his thrice denial was forgiven and in the past and that what truly was in Peter’s heart was love.

And so too with us. The Lord knows we are frail and but dust, yet He loves us and urges us to feed His sheep, knowing that He who has begun a good work in us, WILL finish it.

As the old praise hymn goes:

"What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!"

Jesus wants to carry us as His friends. Let’s take everything to Him in prayer today.
"It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us."
- C.S. Lewis

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